Telegraph, UK, Sep. 3, 2009: It’s time for an honest debate about health care

NHS patients with terminal illnesses are dying prematurely thanks to a system of palliative care which puts them into heavy (and fatal) sedation that shortens their lives, according to a group of leading doctors who wrote to this newspaper yesterday. The letter, signed by palliative care specialists, raised the possibility of patients – many of them elderly – being wrongly assessed as close to death. The sedative drugs they are given ease suffering but make recovery impossible; if patients are not quite as ill as they seem, signs of improvement are hidden and they are effectively subjected to euthanasia.

Should the elderly be worried about the proposed US National Health System?

It is reassuring to note that the Senate has removed the end-of-life provision from the pending health bill (regrettably, it has not been removed from the House version of the bill). Some thought that elderly people would be denied treatment. Some even thought that the elderly would be counseled into committing assisted suicide (as is already happening under the state health system in Oregon) if the cost of keeping them alive was too high. The phrase “death panels” has been used, but these words do not appear in the bill.

Boston.com, Aug. 2009: Senators eliminate end-of-life provision

A plan to provide hospice counseling and other end-of-life advice to patients and their families is being dropped by US Senate health care negotiators after critics charged that it would lead to the formation of federal “death panels,’’ a key GOP senator said yesterday.

Health services have to be rationed. Not everybody can be treated. The new system may be more impartial, because the Federal Government will decide who will get treatment and when they will get it. Some people may be concerned about the government having access to all of their medical and financial records.

Medical Records on Web

This Reuters article, Jan. 23, 2009, Economic Stimulus Bill Mandates Electronic Health Records for Every Citizen without Opt-out or Patient Consent Provisions, here is a quote:

The President of the Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) warns “Without those protections, Americans’ electronic health records could be shared — without their consent — with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health-records network”.

People might not necessarily like the notion that if they are denied treatment based on their medical histories, it is designed to be for the greater good of society. Privacy advocates should have had a big problem with this bill, but it seems to have slipped by virtually unnoticed.

Tax Returns Will be Sent to Health Choices Commissioner

 CBS, Aug. 26, 2009: Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.”

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details — there’s no specified limit on what’s available or unavailable — to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify “affordability credits.”

If the long-established UK NHS is failing, can the US succeed?

The world is becoming more liberal and more socialist. This leads me to believe that National Health Care is inevitable in the US.

Can the US build a better National Health System than the UK? I think it can, but it will be very expensive. Taxes will increase dramatically, but more people may receive medical treatment, although the wait times may be an unpleasant surprise for some.


Related: Sentenced to death on the NHS