Whenever talk turns to how dreadful health care is in countries where the government has a large role in it, I think back to a summer spent in Scotland. Our young son began to suffer from what seemed to be a virulent new allergy, and after sleepless nights and several days of sneezing, we went to the local infirmary, part of the national health plan. The nurse on duty was cheerful, and she sized up the situation immediately. “You need a shot,” she pronounced. My son bravely rolled up his sleeve. “Oh, no,” she said. “It’s in the bum, dearie.” She administered the shot, at no charge, and the sneezing stopped.
“In the bum, dearie” entered our family lexicon, and ever since I’ve thought kindly about national health programs and doubted those who insist that government involvement in health care necessarily means poor treatment and long waits.