Ken's Project Blog

March 9, 2011

Yet another reminder…

Filed under: Health Care,In The News,Politics — Ken @ 11:02 am

On the off-chance that anyone still thought the U.K. Healthcare system was worth modeling our own after, I give you this story about Daphne Austin (above), a senior leader of the National Health Service in the U.K. and her thoughts on what should be done with children delivered prematurely in the 22nd or 23rd week – she thinks they should be left to die:

She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.


‘For me the big issue is that we’re spending an awful lot of money on treatments that have very marginal benefit.’

‘I would prefer to free up that money to spend on providing support to people who have much more lifelong chronic conditions.’

Source: Mail Online

The money she hopes to save and invest “in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled” amounts to around $16 million U.S. (10 million pounds) – that represents a rounding error on a rounding error in the NHS annual budget of 100 billion pounds ($160 Billion U.S.) 0.01% of their annual budget. I’m sure the parents of a 23 week old prematurely delivered baby will understand the importance of making their contribution to the NHS’s attempts to curb out of control healthcare costs… Right?

Think it can’t happen here? The current U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Director Donald Berwick has admitted he “loves” NHS:

“Dr. Berwick is a huge fan of … the NHS, a system that relies on rationing health care to hold down costs,” Roberts said. “Dr. Berwick has said, ‘I am a romantic about the NHS; I love it,’ and ‘the NHS is not just a national treasure, it is a global treasure.’”


“The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open”

Source: The Hill

Fearing a hostile reception by Republicans, President Obama choose to install Dr. Berwick in his post via a recess appointment:

The recess appointment was somewhat unusual because the Senate is in recess for less than two weeks and senators were still waiting for Dr. Berwick to submit responses to some of their requests for information. No confirmation hearing has been held or scheduled.

Source: New York Times

Dr. Berwick may have to vacate the position at the end of 2011 – it seems the Democrats, in light of a letter signed by 42 Republican Senators indicating they would not support Dr. Berwick’s formal nomination to his current post, are now working on a Plan B for life after Dr. Berwick leaves.

Some would argue that one way to measure a society is how they treat the weakest among them – I think our weakest deserve better.


Daily Mail: Babies who are born at 23 weeks should be left to die, says NHS chief

March of Dimes: Your Premature Baby

NHS Website: About the NHS: Overview page

The New York Times: Obama to Bypass Senate to Name Health Official

The Hill: GOP senators take aim at CMS nominee

The Weekly Standard: Not NICE Sources: Democrats giving up on Donald Berwick


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