A Look At Socialized Medicine Through The Eyes Of A British Oncologist

Now that health care reform is back in the news, let’s look at what is happening in countires that already have socialized health care, or more accurately, rationed health care.

The best way to do that is to get the information straight from someone who works within such a system. In this case, we have Dr. Karol Sikora, a practicing oncologist and professor of cancer medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine in London.

Dr. Sikora writes:

One of the more unproductive elements of President Obama’s stimulus bill is the $1.1 billion allotted for “comparative effectiveness research” to assess all new health treatments to determine whether they are cost-effective. It sounds great, but in Britain we have had a similar system since 1999, and it has cost lives and kept the country in a kind of medical time warp.

As a practicing oncologist, I am forced to give patients older, cheaper medicines. The real cost of this penny-pinching is premature death for thousands of patients — and higher overall health costs than if they had been treated properly: Sick people are expensive.

And dead family members exact a heavy price from the heart. I’ve previously posted about many of the horror stories that come out of countries with nationalized health care systems. Here are a few:

Another Example Of The Horrors That Socialized Medicine Will Bring Us
March 19, 2009

A Look At Three Socialized Health Care Systems: Dr. Walter Williams Column
March 4, 2009

Socialized Medicine: Enforcing Your Duty To Die
February 16, 2009

Clearly, there is a major problem with socialized health care systems. Now, some of you libs would respond that the same thing is happening here in the U.S. with our privatized system. I say that would be a misrepresentation. You see, if 400 patients died at a U.S. hospital that way they did at Britain’s NHS run Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals, it would be the lead story on CNN and other leftist leaning networks for at least two weeks. But CNN isn’t running any such story. From this we can conclude that the problems of a socialized health care system have not manifested themselves in our privatized system.

Continuing on with Dr. Sikora’s analysis:

As the government takes increasing control of the health sector with schemes such as Medicare and SCHIP (State Children’s Health-care Insurance Program), it is under pressure to control expenditures. Some American health-policy experts have looked favorably at Britain, which uses its National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to appraise the cost-benefit of new treatments before they can be used in the public system.

If NICE concludes that a new drug gives insufficient bang for the buck, it will not be available through our public National Health Service, which provides care for the majority of Britons.

Partly as a result of these restrictions on new medicines, British patients die earlier. In Sweden, 60.3 percent of men and 61.7 percent of women survive a cancer diagnosis. In Britain the figure ranges between 40.2 to 48.1 percent for men and 48 to 54.1 percent for women.

And it is not only the restriction on new drugs that are having an effect. Delayed detection and delayed treatment also contribute the the low cancer survival rates in the U.K. These delays result from control of treatment procedures being passed from patient/doctor to some bureaucrats sitting in some air-conditioned office somewhere and none of whom have a medical degree.

Where do the bureaucrats get that control from? Read on:

Having a centralized “comparative effectiveness research” agency would also hand politicians inappropriate levels of control over clinical decisions, a fact which should alarm Americans as government takes ever more responsibility for delivering health care — already 45 cents in every health-care dollar.

And would socialized medicine really mean universal coverage? No. It would mean rationed coverage with the most politically powerful ailments getting the most treatment:

In Britain, the reality is that life-and-death decisions are driven by electoral politics rather than clinical need. Diseases with less vocal lobby groups, such as strokes and mental health, get neglected at the expense of those that can shout louder. This is a principle that could soon be exported to America.

So, are you ready for the government to deny treatment to your pneumonia-suffering child because the gay lobby demanded that more resources go to treat (i.e. be rationed for) AIDS patients? Or are you ready to see your wife, mother or sister suffer from breast cancer because the government delayed the tests that could have detected the disease, delayed the treatments and denied the medicines that could have cured the disease?

If so, you are ready for socialized (rationed) medicine.

The majority of us do not want this to happen.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

Karol Sikora: This Health Care ‘Reform’ Will Kill Thousands
Dr. Karol Sikora
New Hampshire Union Leader
May 12, 2009

2 Responses

  1. […] then, when health care quality takes a nose dive like it did under the socialized systems of Great Britain and Canada, then the Dems are the ones who will have to take the […]

  2. […] A Look At Socialized Medicine Through The Eyes Of A British Oncologist […]

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