You never know how a TV show might affect American politics. The West Wing and House of Cards often have given people a different perspective on pending national issues, and 24 has helped to keep terrorism front and center in the national zeitgeist.
But now 24 may have a new impact . . . on Obamacare. Everyone knows that Great Britain has the National Health Service, and Republican critics say that’s where Obamacare will lead us — to a single-payer system where the government employs the doctors, pays for all care, and decides how long you have to wait to get that knee replacement. According to the Republicans, it’s just unacceptable.
But last night, the British National Health System was shown off to good effect on 24. A terrorist is hit by a bus. She’s quickly treated by an EMS crew and efficiently taken to the nearest hospital. When she arrives she’s whisked into the ER room and treated by a team of doctors and nurses in crisp uniforms. The hospital is spotless. Not only are there no crowds, the place seems almost deserted, and the warm and caring health care providers have plenty of time to devote to each patient.
Socialized medicine was looking pretty good there for a while – at least until an obviously threatening guy was able to steal a uniform from a room full of them and wander through the hallways with a loaded gun, until the head doctor of the trauma team was willing to give up his patient because some unknown whispering American got in his face about it, and until the threatening guy was gunned down in a hospital hallway. Thank goodness the desperate crowds waiting for care that the Republicans have talked about weren’t there, or some innocent waiting for their procedure could have been hurt!
Next week, I’m expecting 24 to show a Desert Storm veteran getting immediate and excellent care at a VA hospital.