Best Of The Web
“The fire alarm in our hospital room is blaring. Despite our attempts to stifle the sound with a towel, it is deafening. My husband sits on one side of our room in a stiff vinyl chair cradling our newborn baby boy in his lap, cupping his tiny ears to protect them from the noise, which has been unrelenting for 10 minutes now. He is weary. I am weary. This is our sixth day in a London hospital, and the third consecutive day of fire alarm “testing” on the postnatal ward to which we’ve been assigned. Babies are screaming. Haggard, sleep-deprived new parents like us are losing their minds. But in the hall, the medical staff march on, unfazed. They smile at one another, make small talk, and generally ignore their patients’ complaints. To them, this living hell is normal. It’s just another day in a National Health Service hospital.
The National Health Service, or NHS, is the United Kingdom’s public universal health system. It was established in 1948 after World War II, and has since grown to become a massive operation: The NHS sees a million patients every day. It employs 1.7 million people, which makes it the fifth biggest employer in the entire world. And of course, it is free at the point of use for U.K. residents. If you walk into an NHS hospital with a broken arm, you’ll walk out with a cast, a few x-rays, and zero bills to pay. That’s because people who live in the U.K., myself included, contribute to the NHS through taxes and national insurance payments (the U.K.’s version of Social Security).
While the NHS has long been the subject of some scorn in America, it is also often heralded elsewhere as a shining example of how universal health care can succeed. British citizens are fiercely protective of it. One survey found that Brits list the NHS as the number one reason they are proud to be British. And there’s good reason for this: The NHS is great. Having grown up in the States and become accustomed to the complicated web of insurance claims, co-pays, deductibles, and enormously confusing bills that plague the American health-care system, I found the idea that I could receive top-tier treatment for free here in London mind-blowing. After I got pregnant last year, the maternity care I received leading up to and during the birth of my son was outstanding.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."
"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."
"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."
"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"
"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."
"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."
"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."
"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."
"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."
"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."
"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."
"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"