Sunday, August 16, 2009

American vs. British Health Care

From the Telegraph:

Conservatives in the US have been spreading misinformation about health care in Britain, but the facts aren't that reassuring.

In a television ad from the Club for Growth pressure group, a narrator intones portentously as images of Big Ben and the Union flag appear on the screen: "$22,750. In England, government health officials decided that's how much six months of life is worth. Under their socialised system, if a medical treatment costs more, you're out of luck. That's wrong for America." Cue the Statue of Liberty and the Stars and Stripes.

The figure comes from Britain's National Institute for Clinical Evidence, which evaluates treatments in terms of the average increase in life expectancy. If the cost of prolonging someone's life for a year exceeds more than £30,000, then the NHS will not pay for that treatment. In other words, although there are no "death panels", the fundamental point is correct. The NHS does decide that some treatments are too expensive. And if that means you die? Our condolences, says the Government.

No "death panel" evaluating the worth of any particular life – that decision has already been made. The only panels are of green-eyeshade types adding up the cost of your next year of treatments.

No comments: