A friend of mine is working for CNN in London. A former denizen of New York City, he wanted to share his experience of using the British National Health Service. For those of you interested in the politics of universal health care, here’s one American’s perspective. Having been to a hospital without an appointment here in the City of Angels, bwahaha, and at Roosevelt for that matter, I can relate to his experience with the American health care system – even having had full coverage insurance:

“I got ill and went to the NHS for the first time without an appointment, an AE at hammersmith hospital, and was shocked to find a lobby virtually empty. when i walked in three very energetic ladies greeted me and waved me to come over to the desk, “welcome to the nhs, can i help you”. Huh? then she asked me a few brief questions and handed me a form to sign. One page, just two questions. that’s right, no two page form with a zillion questions to fill out “on both sides”. I sat down and in less than a minute the big automated doors opened and a tiny woman smiled “hello ray come on in”. she checked my vitals then asked me to sit and wait for the doctor and i figured “oh, here it comes. now we’ll see the behemoth communist plot unfold. i’ll be here all day while they run my file through her majesty’s secret service and get my immigration status (…maybe their casing my place now…); or while the blood ops, disgruntled after ten years of frozen wages, amuse themselves swapping my specimen with the old ladies at the end of the row; or…” but the doors opened once again within minutes and a very pleasant doctor greeted me, again with “Hello Ray, I’m doctor Bob Something. welcome to the nhs”. I almost snickered. I felt like one of those communist defectors being lead through the US for the first time by their diplomatic handlers. That smile they all have as if to say, “come on already who put you up to this?”

I was out in 20 minutes with a prescription for FREE drugs in my hand and i picked the drugs up at the pharmacy IN THE VERY SAME FUCKING HOSPITAL. So will someone please tell me why every one hates the NHS? I’ll tell you why, because they never spent fifteen minutes at Roosevelt Emergency on 52nd street let alone the obligatory three and half hours, walking out with little more in their hand than a big fat crippling fucking bill! I’ll take the NHS any day!

…just thought you might care to know :)”

Not that I’m voting for Dean or anything, but I really don’t see Bush addressing the reality of the state of our country’s health care system. The go-to answer that the expense of insuring people is driven by malpractice suits and malpractice insurance costs is b.s. – the latest increases in health insurance (which I pay) have been due to the need to recover losses that insurance companies have suffered as the result of poor investment decisions and declines in returns on their portfolios – profit making at the expense of universal coverage doesn’t seem like somethng that is good for the general welfare of the country’s citizens.

Long weekend in San Francisco. Went up to see Konstantin’s label’s record release party at Li Po Lounge (seems I’ve been spending a lot of time in Chinatown bars). Place was a basement death trap – the kind of place you descend to and immediately think, “If there’s an earthquake I’m dead.” Katerina described it as “ghetto,” but I would say the vibe of the party was “Chechnya ultra hip.” The place was damp and musty and smelled like bleached out cat urine, but the bunker like atmosphere was packed with enough people dancing to cover up the smell (Cheer! Gain! Wisk! Tide!) and I found myself getting lost in the music. DJ Ken (his name has been altered to protect the innocent) was putting out some really dense beats and the crowd really got into it.

Then I realized that my lungs were filling with mold spores and kitty SARS and I had to leave.

Konstantin’s label is ORAC – check it out.

OOH OOH OHH !! Food of the Gods is on Starz this morning. The perfect 70s bad horror film to kick off the day right! Football players attacked by gigantic mosquitos and turkeys in the woods of Canada. The first guy is chasing a deer into the woods and the horse is spooked by th ebuzz on the monster . . . mosquito. Thrown from his steed, he looks like he’s going to be emptied of blood by the swarm of giant blood sucking plastic mosquitos!

Went to an art opening in Chinatown last night at Daniel Hug Gallery on Bernard. Nothing to report except the crowd was interesting, the art was better than usual, the sangria was awful. I ended the night at Hop Louie sucking down Mai Tais with Nansi and Alex, who got in a fight over money.