Death Panels are NICE __ Really?

Death panels by any other name are still death panels and they are not nice but they are NICE.

A big Hat Tip to Bruce McQuain over at Questions and Observations for the link to this article from Health Care News published by The Heartland Institute. We all know that Obama and his fellow liberal/socialists hold the health care system of our brethren across the pond up as the model for what universal heath care (ObamaCare) should become here in the US. So lets see what this Health Care News article has to say about the system in the UK on the subject of “Death Panels.”

Great Britain’s government-run health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), has long considered limiting coverage for people with illnesses deemed to be lifestyle-related. In 2005 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the NHS’s guiding body, advised that smokers and obese people be refused health care. Now NHS North Yorkshire and York is preventing certain operations for the obese or smokers because they say unhealthy lifestyles lower their chance of success.

I don’t think that NICE is very nice, do you?

“The NHS is funded by British taxpayers, and throughout their lives they are told that it will be there for them when they need it. Now the government is saying that although you’ve paid into the system throughout your life, unfortunately you will not be receiving treatment because the NHS has checked off some boxes when you were admitted to the hospital and find that you are a second-class citizen because you smoke, drink, or are obese,” says  Basham.

“Morally, philosophically, empirically, and economically, it is wrong to withhold medical treatment from someone. If they need health care based on a lifestyle issue, they still need care. Denying them care doesn’t make them healthier; it harms them,” says Basham.

Let’s see if I understand this. If you are old and a smoker or if you are old and obese, we NICE people don’t think you deserve medical that you have paid for. We NICE people think you should do your countrymen a favor and just die. We NICE people will give you pain killers to make dying easier. How nice is that? Let’s continue.

“They don’t think the aged will derive as much benefit from a transplant, or they determine the cost of treatment is wasted on the elderly, so they don’t approve them for treatment,” Herrick said. “What they’re doing is creating favored constituencies of patients: The young and healthy vs. the elderly and sick. The politics of medicine dictate that you provide a service for their votes. Who is the largest voting block? The healthy. People who are in nursing homes or long-term care very rarely vote, so they’re the first to be denied care.”

There is little opportunity to appeal these decisions, Herrick notes, because Britain has offloaded the hard decisions to an unaccountable bureaucracy.

“The politicians don’t want to be the ones that tell you that you have been denied treatment. They don’t want that responsibility because it affects how you will vote,” says Herrick.

So unelected bureaucrats (Death Panels) get to decide if old people receive health care or not. How do we get the AARP to understand this. We need them if we ever hope to repeal ObamaCare. Death Panels are not nice but they are NICE.

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17 thoughts on “Death Panels are NICE __ Really?

  1. The really insidious part of this is that it is a government bureaucracy making decisions about your health care. Were it a private contract between an insurer and insuree it would be different. For example, life insurance is more expensive for a smoker. The US Military provides free health care to active duty members, but will not pay if you were in an accident and did not have your seat belt on or helmet for motorcyclists.

    I am all for personal responsibility and facing the consequences of your actions, but not when a board of government bureaucrats are the ones sitting in judgment.

    Imagine where this could lead? What if you’ve damaged your liver by using too much salt, developed diabetes perhaps by ingesting too much sugar? Government has deemed these to be bad substances and they’ve warned us…

    1. Exactly. Where does it end. What if the illness has nothing to do with smoking or obesity? For example: an old obese person needs an operation for a detached retina. Does the panel say no because your probably going to die in a few years anyway so why should the state waste money on you.? These are not decisions that should be left to government bureaucrats to decide.

  2. What is the difference between private and public health care? I ask that question because private insurance will also make decisions based on your lifestyle and they will instantly up your premiums if your a smoker or obese or they will say that smoking related or obese related illnesses are not covered.

    It is also interesting that if you follow the links to the original item in Britain about the NICE scheme the comments sections mentions that homosexuality is still a major factor in AIDS related illnesses but that being homosexual does not exclude you from AIDS related costs, interesting comment.

    The other question that comes to mind is why has the Death Panel or Obama bashing come into this item at all? The item has had nothing to do with “death panels” and that Obama’s health team noting that they want something akin to the British system (I am a Brit by the way) does not mean that they will take everything verbatum.

    1. “What is the difference between private and public health care?”
      With private you have choices with public you do not.

      “…why has the Death Panel or Obama bashing come into this item at all? The item has had nothing to do with “death panels”…”
      If you don’t think NICE has to do with death panels, I don’t know what to tell you, friend. And, yes the Obama team is planning something similar to NICE.

      1. Our version of NICE is “IPAB.”

        Private heath insurance, you can appeal. Government health care, not so much.

        Medicare already denies care at twice the rate of private insurance.

  3. They can deny it all they want to but the government is going to have a say in who gets what treatment and who doesn’t get a certain treatment and any way you look at it this is a death panel. Sarah Palin was mocked for being the first to use this term but she was 100% right.

  4. Ugly Fringe,
    I have not had that experience with private health insurance cos. that you describe. But if you will look up Ezekiel Emanuel and his treatise, “The Complete Lives System,” you will see exactly what Obama’s healthcare is. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm, is a major contributor to the writing of Obamacare.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574374463280098676.html

    http://freedomeden.blogspot.com/2009/08/ezekiel-emanuel-complete-lives-system.html

    Verbatim from the horse’s mouth:
    “When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated. It therefore superficially resembles the proposal made by DALY advocates; however, the complete lives system justifies preference to younger people because of priority to the worst-off rather than instrumental value. Additionally, the complete lives system assumes that, although life-years are equally valuable to all, justice requires the fair distribution of them. Conversely, DALY allocation treats life-years given to elderly or disabled people as objectively less valuable.”

    So good luck Ugly Fringe. I hope you are between the ages of 15 and 40. Otherwise, you’re pretty much screwed whether you smoke or your are over weight….or whatever the Left finds undesirable today.

    1. Nicely said, Cheryl. People who have always lived with government supplied health care often don’t appreciate the benefits of choice and competition. Our private system could be much cheaper if insurance companies were allowed to sell across state lines, i.e., more competition, and if we could reform tort law which also drives up the cost of insurance.

  5. The only thing in the history of humanity that has ever driven prices down and quality up is competition.

    It’s the INCENTIVES! With government involvement, dictating both price and treatment, there is NO incentive to perform better, to attract clientele, to innovate, or provide a better price. Competition results in the reverse, incentive TO perform better, attract clientele, to innovate, and provide a better price.

    With government domination you will inevitably be left with a system that has an unelected elite dividing increasingly scarce resources among an increasing demand. As Cheryl points out, this leads to these elites making value judgments on people’s lives. By the very nature of their job, they cannot look at human beings as individuals, they have to look at them as numbers. If anyone thinks that age and lifestyle are where it’ll stop, you have another thing coming. What are the health, lifespan, and “contribution to society” statistics for the poor or for minorities? Those kinds of things will work their way into the calculus eventually… They might get hidden or justified some other way, but the elites will eventually look there and decided that, hell, we’re overpopulated anyway, so if those making the smallest contribution to society die off, we’ll be in better shape. Yup… the same progressives who back socialized medicine are the same environmentalists and abortion promoters who have been talking about overpopulation for decades. You think it’s THEM that they’ll allow to die with less care, given all they contribute to society just by holding the beliefs they hold? Don’t bet on it.

    Socialists simply do not understand economics. And, at heart, they are elitists who don’t give a rat’s _ss for anyone but them and their cronies.

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