Update: and not so easy to deny them, either; after newspaper story, the NHS caved.
When reached for comment, NHS and the Southampton General Hospital refused to comment on the case because of privacy issues.
The NHS is regularly dismissed by U.S. critics of American reform as "socialized medicine."
Mr Barboza, an NHS accountant, and his children live in Bristol.
They are privately run, operate independently of the NHS and are unregulated by any official body.
US Medicare works better than Britain's NHS or Canadian Medicare precisely because it is informed by private price-setting.
But even the NHS knows that once you've given in, it's terribly hard to take them away.
For those whose default position has been to criticize the NHS ourselves, we suddenly become quite defensive.
We Brits are under no illusions that our NHS is the last word in health care.
But it's nowhere near as bad as what would happen to patients in Britain's NHS.