Thursday, July 28, 2011

UK: National Healthcare Begins Rationing Treatments

London, Jul 28, 2011. In a shocking preview of what will happen in the USA, Britain has begun rationing healthcare in order to cut costs.

Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.

Two-thirds of healthcare providers in England are rationing treatments for "non-urgent" conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years.

One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.
Examples of the rationing now being used include:
  • Hip and knee replacements only being allowed where patients are in severe pain. Overweight patients will be made to lose weight before being considered for an operation.
  • Cataract operations being withheld from patients until their sight problems "substantially" affect their ability to work.
  • Patients with varicose veins only being operated on if they are suffering "chronic continuous pain", ulceration or bleeding.
  • Tonsillectomy (removing tonsils) only to be carried out in children if they have had seven bouts of tonsillitis in the previous year.
  • Grommets to improve hearing in children only being inserted in "exceptional circumstances" and after monitoring for six months.
  • Funding has also been cut in some areas for IVF treatment on the NHS.
Doctors are known to be concerned about how the new rationing is working – and how it will affect their relationships with patients.
And this is precisely what will happen here in the USA once President Obama's Universal Healthcare law goes into effect in 2014.

The Obama health care law will limit what health care providers can do to save the lives of your family members. It does so by telling doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers just what diagnostic tests and medical care are considered to meet “quality and efficiency” standards.

This applies not only for federally funded programs like Medicare, but also for health care paid for by private citizens and their nongovernmental health insurance.

The Obama health care law can limit senior citizens’ right to use their own money to save their own life.

It does so by eliminating an option added to Medicare due to NRLC’s persistent efforts to assure that seniors could choose health insurance whose value was not limited by what the government might pay toward it.

State insurance exchanges will limit your right to use your own money to save your family members’ lives. It does so by denying consumers the right to choose plans offered by insurers who allow their customers to spend what state bureaucrats deem an “excessive or unjustified” amount for their health insurance.

New “Shared Decisionmaking Resource Centers” and “Patient decision Aids” may attempt to persuade patients they’re better off without treatment.

Although not named in the law, there is a pattern in the former state efforts to utilize group that discourage patients from choosing treatment that may be extensive or costly.

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