In such a system, the patient has little or no control precisely because he is not the one paying the bills, so no one has to listen to him. That’s what happens when people surrender their actual right to health-care, the right to contract for it privately with doctors and insurance companies, in exchange for an illusory “right” to whatever care the government chooses to provide-or withhold.

The British press may be roiled by this story, but you won’t read about any of this in American newspapers. Hence, the current health-care debate has taken on a dramatic irony worthy of a great work of fiction. Just as America is debating whether to give the government a dominant role in health care, Britain is agonizing over the horrific consequences of just such a government-controlled system. But no one in America knows about this, because our press wants to pretend it doesn’t exist.

In a good thriller, the protagonists would learn the real story just in time to save themselves from disaster. Perhaps Americans will find out what is happening in Britain in time to stop ObamaCare. But in a tragedy, knowledge of the future we can expect under government control would arrive too late, after we have already signed over our lives to the state.