American Elephants

About those “Death Panels”, Britain’s NHS Shows the Way. by The Elephant's Child

When we look to the future of ObamaCare, we necessarily look to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). It has been in place since the end of World War II, and is the world’s oldest government-run system.  It is free at the point of service, paid for in taxes, and some say the closest thing in Britain to a religion.  Scotland, Wales and Ireland each have their own system, administered by their governments.  There is a private health system alongside NHS, and people can buy insurance for that.

Well, what more could you want?  Free at the point of service, paid for in taxes, and apparently popular. One suspects that this is as far as Democrats’ investigations went.  If you have an emergency — a heart attack, say — you get immediate attention.  If you need to see a specialist, get some tests, the wait may be as long as 18 weeks. The NHS has approximately 1.5 million employees, most of them administrators.  I should add here that I have never been to England, so I depend on what I read.

Scandals have been a constant. Hospitals that were parking patients in ambulances outside so they didn’t appear for treatment at once, so the hospital could meet guidelines for prompt service.  Illnesses caused by the hospitals, like MERSA and other strep infections have been common at one time or another. Complaints about dirty hospitals, poor or absent care, pop up with regularity. It sounds as if you are healthy and your needs are not life-threatening, free treatment is a great drawing point. If you really need help — good luck.

The latest scandal is one of elderly patients condemned to early death because hospital personnel issued Do Not resuscitate (DNR) orders without consultation with the patient or with their relatives.

The medical guidelines require DNR orders to be issued only after senior staff have discussed the matter with the patient’s family.  A form, signed by two doctors, is then placed in the patient’s notes to record the official decision.

The findings emerged in spot checks of 100 hospitals undertaken by the Care   Quality Commission (CQC), an official watchdog, earlier this year.

A charity for the elderly said the disclosures were evidence of “euthanasia   by the backdoor,” with potentially-lethal notices being placed on the files of patients simply because they were old and frail.

Although at least five hospitals were found by the CQC to be in breach of medical guidance regarding consultation with families, the watchdog declared four of the five to be “compliant” with its standards on dignity for patients, which cover broader aspects of care.

There you go, compliant with “dignity,” but don’t bother to tell the patient or his family that you’re going to bump him off.  Call it euthanasia by default.

Here’s the story of one elderly patient, father of two physicians, and their efforts to navigate the NHS.

The problem with socialized medicine is that the goal quickly becomes holding down costs, rather than patient care.  Ezekiel Emanuel, adviser on health care to Obama, was famously an admirer of NHS. The best care, he thought should go to the young who have many life years ahead of them: and not to old folks who used up too much expensive care before kicking the bucket.

That has been a frequent attitude among Democrats — They resist any effort to reform Medicare (they prefer to be portrayed as the saviors of Medicare in contrast to nasty Republicans who want to save the system) while they cut the reimbursement rates to physicians and suppliers from Medicare — currently –$500 billion.  This only means that fewer physicians will see and treat Medicare patients, as they have done with Medicaid.  They congratulate themselves on seeing that way more people are now insured, but ignore the fact that the newly insured cannot find doctors to treat them. It is so dishonest!

ObamaCare is a mess, a system guaranteed to fall apart if not repealed. The much vaunted Long-Term Care plan (CLASS) that was going to offer all Medicare patients insured long-term care has just been dumped before it ever goes into effect, as the administration has finally realized that there is simply no way they can make it work.

The population of England is around 51 million, and NHS is slowly falling apart. ObamaCare proposes to cover 33o million Americans without any understanding of what is not working in England and why.  ObamaCare was largely based on Massachusetts plan, and the population of Massachusetts is only 6.5 million, and it is not working.  Taxpayers in the rest of the country are supporting Medicaid in Massachusetts, and they have still had to put on price controls.  Lots of their doctors have departed for Texas.

The incentives are all wrong. The goal for providers becomes how to get the most out of the insurance, not how to do the best for the patient.

If you want to see how socialized medicine plays out, watch the British system. How it works if you break an arm or hav e tonsilitis is not what’s important.  It’s how the system treats the frail, the elderly and the needy. Seems to me that’s who you have a health care system for, not the young and healthy who can probably get along fine without it.

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