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If you remember the concerns voiced about “death panels” during the national debate over Obamacare, you also recall the condescension and outright derision with which liberals greeted our mistrust.
Never mind bottom-line, real-world issues; Obamacare was a gaily wrapped package filled with rainbows, singing birds, happy families and prancing unicorns. The only thing that mattered was providing “coverage” for all — never mind how that translated into actual treatment once a covered person became a patient.
But even then, it was easy to point to Britain’s government-run health care system to show what the inevitability of rationed care would look like. And today, we see the same kind of bureaucratic thought creeping into our own system.
As insurance companies find themselves increasingly stretched, they necessarily make adjustments — not only with much higher premiums and deductibles, but also with intense scrutiny of costs and benefits for various forms of treatment.
Your health care becomes a reflection not of you and your doctor’s judgment, but of a cost-benefit analysis performed by green-eyeshade types who have never met you and arguably don’t care about your outcome one way or another.
Ironically, it’s taken someone in Britain — Shane Frith, the founder of Doctors’ Alliance and also a board member of Nurses for Reform — to shed light on the emerging problem here in America. In his piece in the Independent Journal Review, he first acknowledges the advantages of traditional American-style medical care over that provided by the British National Health Service. In particular, he cites the lack of cutting-edge drugs as a major difference, leading to far poorer outcomes there than we see here in America.
But then he issues a warning. Just as the Brits have their bureaucracy, laughably called the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (“NICE”), to decide which patients get expensive care, American insurance companies have one, too: The chillingly named Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (“ICER”).
Both base their decisions on a horrific concept called quality-adjusted life years, which bases its recommendations for a given patient on impersonal mathematical calculations.
This should be an eye-opener to anyone who thinks it’s too late to stop government intrusion into our care. Obamacare must end. It must have a stake driven through its icy cold heart and be buried with a wreath of garlic.
And then we have to find ways to bring market-based solutions back, rather than a one-size-fits-all program that’s forced on everyone. If the Democrats change Obamacare, it will be to usher in more control, not less. That’s just one reason why the coming election is the most important in our lifetime.
May that lifetime be long and healthy!