The Republican Email Against UK Health Care Refuted

This is being spread by Republicans (and some mad PUMA sites) about the NHS. It is nothing but lies.

Include me out as an expert on either health care or health insurance, which can, in practice, be two very different things.

They are, though, bedfellows (some might say badfellows) in legislation currently being concocted by our reprehensibles in the District of Conundrum – few of whom, I hazard an educated guess, are much better qualified than am I. Despite that shortcoming, they were recently poised to stampede their proposal through our House of ill repute in time for a summer vacation to which they were about as entitled as is O. J. Simpson to a full pardon.

This was in blithe non-recognition of the fact that the bill involved gazillions of dollars in IOU’s bequeathed to future generations, a plentitude of pork and pipe dreams and the creation of a revolutionary new Hypocritical Oath. Mind you, now, I am the grateful beneficiary of both Medicare and a secondary insurance provider, which sugar-coat, and often sugar-daddy, the cost of the physical deterioration, deferred maintenance and functional obsolescence which are nearabout pandemic among my fellow octogenarians.

Furthermore, I believe that adequate health care should be available to every American able to pay for it and subsidized for those who are not. However, I hold firmly that the design and implementation of such a system should not be left in the hands (make that the jaws) of the piranhas who swim in the mainstream and tributaries of government.

This for a start exposes the original emailer to be not worthy of note on this matter anyway. However, that would provide for an easy ad-hominem attack, so I shall avoid it.

The argument continues on the delay argument. This is a Republican tactic to kill off any chances of health care reform in the first place. The DLC congress critters are nervous enough about delivering health care reform, even before Mid-terms become an issue. After recess, when campaigning starts – they are much less likely to put their hand to a bill (even though decent reform would ensure that the poorest of voters have something to be grateful to the Democratic Party for and would actually turn up to vote).

Whenever that system has been tried, and wherever it now prevails, it has been and is a dismal failure and a showcase of both waste and inefficiency.
Exhibit A is a whitened sepulcher of bureaucracy innocently labeled “NICE” – the deceptively sweet-sounding acronym for Great Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

While it may “cover” the Brits universally, it is not nearly as nice in practice as it is in theory, and more closely resembles the proposed “Obamacare” than the programs that have kept me on the sunny side of the sod for, lo, these many years.
Among many other non-niceties in the U.K. are these sobering realities:
– Current breast cancer survival rates there are roughly the same as in Third World countries, in part because NICE has been unwilling to pay for the newer therapies that have remarkably improved the outlook for afflicted women over here, where the mortality risk is lower by half.
– British gents face six times the likelihood of death from prostate cancer than that faced by us in the US of A.
– On a per-capita basis we have access to four times as many CT scans as Britons.

The only proposals Republicans are labelling “Obama care” that are in any way similar to the NHS is not even being considered by Congress is HR676. At best, the House proposals are a form of “Hillary Care”, mandated Private insurance with a restricted public option. By the time the Senate gets through with it – even those proposals are going to be heavily watered down.

The argument about NICE is of course complete rubbish. NICE was established to remove Politicians from decisions about what drugs could be sanctioned. Before NICE was established very high cost drugs required the approval of the Secretary of State. Healthcare lobbyists were very effective at creating a demand for a new drug, where proper cost/benefit analysis had not been completed by medicinal experts.

More often than not, the media then focused on the sick who could be made miraculously better by whatever overpriced drug it was. The Minister was then all too often forced to give in to the political pressure.

The decisions made by NICE are based on a cost / benefit analysis. Insurance companies do the same. However the cost benefit analysis carried out by insurance companies adds in a profit element, the decisions of NICE are made on the basis of clinical need, as required by law.

Most of the International Comparisons for Cancer Survival rates were carried out many years ago. So comparisons are based on old data. As of now, in the UK over 99% of suspected cancer patients are seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred by their GP, and again 99% of cancer patients start their treatment within a month of diagnosis.

Survival rates in the UK may be lower than those of the US, but the figures presented by the Republicans are lies.

The latest data are 2002 comparisons, which again, are old data. The UK has had a tradition of not “bothering” the Doctor (even though they are available) based on a newer form of stiff upper lip. To combat that there has been a very large campaign to increase levels of screening and self screening.

Suggesting that UK prostrate cancer is worse than African nations is also a very deliberate misreading of the statistical data. So is the US. Factors affecting prostrate cancer are related to bad diet. Hence why the 2002 research placed the US as having the highest incidence of prostrate cancer per 100,000 of any nation. For survival rates, the Republicans “best system in the World” placed eighth.

These are the research statistics from Cancer Research for 26 types of cancer

http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/?a=5441

Data from the 1990s put Britain on a 10 year survival rate for Breast cancer of 59%, this is because there was no campaign for early screening. Breast cancer survival rates in the UK now exceed 80% and as a result of more emphasis on screening for all types of cancers, it is likely that rate has fallen much further.

There is no doubt that a medicinal led and not a political led revolution has taken place in UK health care to encourage preventative care and not after care. As a result, Britain leads the World in preventative care – something not taken seriously by American health care.

If responsibility for, and power over, health care is transferred to government, it would inevitably lead to federal health boards (maybe Czars) capable of overruling the clinical decisions of private physicians.

Bean counters and bureaucrats, rather than health care professionals, would be empowered to decide exactly how much an extra year of healthy life would be worth, and if therapies and medications didn’t meet their criteria, they would be disallowed, as is now de rigeur in the United Queendom.

The government – not doctors and patients – would decide which therapies and medications are cost-effective in prolonging life – and meeting established budgets.

I shall ignore the offensiveness of the last statement and assume it was provided in reverence to the Queen of England (of course it was not).

All decisions made by health professionals towards patients in the UK are taken based on clinical need and no other priority.

“Bean counters” more than exist within the current US system in that administrators determine the number of operations that can be funded, the extent of those operations and how much of that the patient pays based on the numbers insuring with the individual insurance company.

The very basics of health economics mean that if you have a a budget, you must decide how many high cost operations to save one life compared to how many pills you can buy that could save thousands. Those are the extremes, but they are the basis of health economics. However again a number of factors need to be taken in to account. With Private hospitals, those charges are calculated on a per use replacement basis, taking in to account a profit element, in the UK, once a CT scanner is purchased, as there are no charge outs that machine is there. There is no additional charge once the capital costs are met. A doctor, not an insurance company decides the treatment available.

Defensive medicine (against crippling lawsuits) – already an ugly tumor on the innards of health care costs – would metastasize into withheld treatment and/or deferred procedures. (Ask your doctor if “rationed health care” would be right for you!)

Failure to treat would be more of an issue than non treatment. How many medicinal illnesses are left untreated as a result of pre-existing conditions in the US?

Ask your Doctor if he really likes trying to reclaim charges back from Insurance Companies, who continually find ways to stop or prevent treatment.

Avenue Queue would be – as it is abroad and in nearby Canada – the most direct route to the physician’s ear and operating room.

Government-sponsored health care programs, first introduced as competitors to private services, would become the strategies of both first and last resort as they bullied their way to single-payer supremacy.

This as an argument against public option – completely undermines everything he said earlier. If the Government is so bad why would single payer become supreme?

Such “competition” must inevitably lead to massacre when one player in the game both sets the rules and enjoys unlimited access to deficit spending.
Because of its glaring flaws, the “universal” coverage now being touted is almost sure to become much like caviar – ridiculously expensive, relatively inaccessible, and with a taste unpalatable to the average consumer.

Furthermore, both the quantity and quality of professional medical service in the USA would plummet as the superb people who have led the world in therapy, pharmacopeia and research are driven out by minor-league substitutes better able to fit into the molds of rules, regulations, red tape and force-feedings of political correctness.

GlaxoSmithKlein, a largely British company seems to do very well internationally, in a Country with a 90% single payer system. There is after all an international market for health care products. Are American pharma companies so bad that they have to rely on a State sponsored private insurance market to survive? Isn’t this protectionism which every economist in the World knows that the consequence is destruction?

Surest to benefit are the ambulance chasers, lobbyists and quacks who will thrive on the suffering of patients whose patience will be tried, lives endangered, purses pillaged and descendants horrified when presented with the tab.

The best summary of the current US system ever given.

In short – although, admittedly, it is too late in this opusedtte to shoot for brevity – what is now a health care system, with which most Americans (reportedly 70%) are satisfied, should be carefully and thoughtfully tweaked rather than torn asunder by the restless and reckless revolutionaries running amok in the whorehouse of government.
Some changes that sound NICE in rhetoric just ain’t so in reality!

Nope – do nothing, leave a populace nearly the size of the UK, and growing much faster, with ER and death through inability to afford prescriptions.
_____________________________________

Any questions, I am happy to answer. The NHS is not perfect, no system is, but we have elections to deal with the issues that come up. (PS I live in the UK).

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