Right now, the US is in a political struggle to get better national health care. One of the chief tactics of the opposition is, in addition to simply lying and pretending it would be horrible for poor children to get medical treatment, is to tell us horror stories about all those wicked socialist countries and their miserable health care, without the wondrous benefits of raging capitalism. Investor's Business Daily, for instance, ran this interesting example of how bad the British health services are (it has since been corrected, with some acute embarrassment, I hope):
"The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary," read a recent editorial from the paper. "The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script...I guess they thought Stephen Hawking was an American. Maybe it was the accent.
"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
For the record, though, Stephen Hawking: British. Not dead.