Death By Government-Run Health Care

Assigned Reading: Sentenced to Death on the NHS
(FROM: U.K. Telegraph)

The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.

Developed by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, in a Liverpool hospice it was initially developed for cancer patients but now includes other life threatening conditions.

It was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the Government’s health scrutiny body, in 2004.

It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.

Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor.

They look for signs that a patient is approaching their final hours, which can include if patients have lost consciousness or whether they are having difficulty swallowing medication.

However, doctors warn that these signs can point to other medical problems.

Patients can become semi-conscious and confused as a side effect of pain-killing drugs such as morphine if they are also dehydrated, for instance.

“. . . the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor.”

Oh — you mean, like a panel? Granted, this is a medical team and not a cabal of bureaucrats, but the idea behind it is the same.

Regardless of whether health care reform brings about a government-funded, government-staffed and government-run “public option” or a government-funded, government-staffed and government-run co-op, the government will still always be looking for ways to cut health care costs. Unfortunately, the only place to cut health care costs over the course of a normal patient’s life is at the end of their life.

The bill currently working its way through Congress provides for end-of-life counseling for patients. Not a problem in itself, as end-of-life counseling is darned near essential to provide aging patients with information. The problem here, however, is that the end-of-life counseling provision in H.R. 3200 is located in a section devoted not to providing patients with needed information, but to cutting costs. According to the Washington Post, the section in which the end-of-life counseling provision occurs is “in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones . . . If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to ‘bend the curve’ on health-care costs?”

People on the left can poke fun at the Sarah Palin-derived “death panel” moniker all they like — jeering and pointing fingers, however, does not take away from the fact that provisions for guiding aging patients through end of life decisions are provided for in the context of cutting costs. And, as we see in Britain, those decisions may not always be in the best interest of the patients.



  1. Gail B says:

    "…And, as we see in Britain, those decisions may not always be in the best interest of the patients."

    Or, in Obama/Kennedy/Pelosi?Care, in the United States, either.

  2. Rix says:

    One thing that ticks me off in the whole "death panel" debate is that today, private insurances do cost-cutting in plenty of ways, not all of them being compatible with compassion and dignity. The tricks some HMOs pull to curb or dodge payouts would make any governmental bureaucrat green from envy. And yet, we shrug it off as "private business affair" in exactly the same fashion as we used to shrug off outlandish bankers' bonuses in misguided belief that "they earned it". There is something inherently wrong with any middleman, public or private, between the doctor and the patient.

    A few years ago, after comparing American healthcare system to those in USSR and Israel, I came to a conclusion that SOME medical services should be nationalized or at least heavily subsidized. De facto, they already are anyway: ER, immunization, natal care and first-aid clinics. I would add ambulances, school screening and, to some degree, geriatric care. The rest, outside of licensing practitioners and hospitals, should be completely off-limits to the government. What do you think of it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    here we have the advantage of all these examples of going down this road and we totally ignore them? how can they justify ignoring a roadmap to a place you have never been?

    just goes beyond reason, imo.
    the more i think of the approach and how the people's wishes are totally ignored the more i am convinced that obama's focus is on proving a vehicle for his frends and special interests to pocket unEarned dollars via a Healthcare Bill. imo, he couldnt care less about the welfare of anyone.

    he's a bill ayers-trained organizer always looking for the GRANT AND ANY OTHER WAY THEY CAN TAKE MONEY FROM THE GOVT…. it continues in his presidency – - matter of fact that is main intent along with making life easier for terrorists and payback for anyone he thinks was wronged by the govt.

    have a good day all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To Rix:
    I believe that a public option will absolutly mean that Seniors will get poorer care! If they take $500 Billion out of Medicare
    ($50 billion/year)it's obvious that Medicare cannot give the same level of service especially as 40 million 'baby boomers' are begining to retire!! Or yea lets not foget that there is an estimated $30 billion+ in FRAUD/year in Medicare which means he has to 'save' over $800 billion over 10 years! So when Obama says He'd make it up in 'saving later' we Seniors 'get it'. He'll get it from denying expensive procedures to really sick Seniors!!! Medicare under the Democrats plan is to just give us the Red or Blue pill!! So 'denying' will become the reality of how to 'save' money in a public option and reduced
    expensive medicine and procedure because they don't dare 'unhook grandma' they just won't let her even be hooked up in the first place!! Can you imagine The US handing out 307 million Medicare type cards without fraud or illegals getting some!! If it passes then the US needs about 400,000 new nurses and 325,00 NEW doctors for 50 million more people in the system by 2013 to keep from rationing and there is no way that is going to happen because it seems that Medicare also has the job of paying for the 'residences of all doctors' and they just cut $35 billion from that program!!! The real answer is to remove the 'Federal' LAW that allows State health insures 'monopoly's and REQUIRE Insurers to sell 'across state lines' and stop denying coverage for preexisting illeness and Tort reform by at least capping 'punitive damages' to cut down on medical malpratice insurance. My wife went to a great woman OBGYN in our our town but she gave up delivering 'babies' because malpratice insurance jumped to $300 thousand/year!!! Many of the Seniors are ENRAGED at Townhall meetings because they know what's happening. Bless them for standing up and 'fighting' Obama Socialist crap or Pelosi would have already gotten it through the Congress and so would the Senate. We know what he has planned for us and he will 'spread the wealth' to the 20-40 year olds because many of them are his best demographic for propaganda and voting for him in 2012
    I do agree with your angst about Private Insurers most of them are A@@holes and I've switched at least 10 times in the last 15 years as one after another just up and left the area or charged outragous amounts for some drugs or cut what they covered for surgery or raised co-pays etc. BUT I could leave or sue them and I did leave because the US government has an Open house every Nov.-Dec and there are dozens of plans to choose from so there is real competition and the government already has minimum standards for any company who offers a health plan. If there is only a public option there is no way you can 'fight them' they will do anything they want -you have no say about it!!! How do you thing Medicare allows complaints!! As one writer above said it 'he(obama)couldn't care less about the welfare of anyone'.
    Thanks for listening
    sorry for the long rant but Obama Really ticks me off.
    John from Ohio

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