Britain's Health Care, Model For ObamaCare, Not So "NICE" (Neither Is His New Health Care Czar)

For those in denial about the real consequences of Obamacare — specifically, that it will cause rationing and, therefore, early deaths — it's time to face up to the truth. But don't take our word for it, take the word of people who support Obamacare. Conn Carroll writing yesterday at The Heritage Foundation's The Foundry Blog introduces us to Linda O'Boyle. Ms. Boyle was a British citizen (see where this is going?) diagnosed with bowel cancer. Her doctor told her she could boost her chances of survival by adding the drug cetuximab to her regimen. But . . .

But the rationing body for Britain’s National Health Service, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), had previously ruled that the drug was not cost-effective and therefore would not be paid for by the government. So O’Boyle liquidated her savings and paid for the drug herself. But this is not allowed under NHS rules. When government bureaucrats found out that O’Boyle had purchased the drug with her own money, she was denied NHS treatment and died within months.

Love the irony of a government agency with the acronym "NICE" that lets people die. Carroll continues:

Defenders of Britain’s health care rationing system may try to claim that this tragic death is an outlier in an otherwise acceptable government run health care system. They are wrong. It is the point of the system. As socialized medicine and infanticide advocate Peter Singer has argued in The New York Times, the NICE bureaucrats must ration care or else free government health care would bankrupt the British economy. “NICE had set a general limit of £30,000, or about $49,000, on the cost of extending life for a year,” Singer writes. Following this logic, Singer supported NICE’s decision not to allow British citizens the kidney cancer fighting drug Sutent. As a result of this, and many other rationing decisions, Britain has one of the lowest cancer survival rates in the Western world. While 60.3% of men and 61.7% of women in Sweden survive a cancer diagnosis, in Britain the figure ranges between 40.2% to 48.1% for men and 48% to 54.1% for women. And NICE’s rationing has not just hit cancer patients. Doctors have warned that patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under the NHS rationing scheme. And according to the Patients Association, one million NHS patients have been the victims of appalling care in hospitals across Britain.

All of Carroll's research is documented in the links provided, many from British media reports and investigations. One would think these statistics and horror stories would give the Obama administration some pause, and maybe even scale back some of the new law. Instead, it has done the in-your-face-opposite: It bypassed the Senate confirmation process this week and installed Donald Berwick to run the new health care system. Does his name sound familiar? It should. He's the one who told a British audience that they do health care right while the evil U.S. is in the medical stone age, and that health care must include "redistribution of wealth." He's a proud socialist who favors rationing. In 2009, Berwick told Biotechnology Healthcare:

NICE is extremely effective and a conscientious and valuable knowledge-building system. … The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.

While recess appointments are not extraordinary, there are not usual, and are used when the Senate is out of session for months, not days, and after the nominee has at least testified at a confirmation hearing. However, Senate Democrats haven't even scheduled a hearing and Berwick hasn't even returned answers to the nominal written questions submitted to all nominees. No matter how one looks at it, there's nothing nice about the new law, who's now running it, and the way the Obama administration is conducting itself.