‘Not Disabled Enough’

The Sun (UK): One-Leg Olivia Told: You’re Not Disabled

Meningitis victim Olivia Porter, ten, has a prosthetic limb after a life-saving amputation.

She also can’t use her right arm and says the false leg is often painful.

But a Department of Work and Pensions letter said Olivia’s monthly £281 Disability Living Allowance and £26 Mobility Allowance were being cut.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, there could be a case that government benefits need to be revisited here should the Department of Work and Pensions’ assessment of little Olivia’s mobility pan out to be true.  However, the issue here is BIGGER than little Olivia; the issue is that, when you depend fully upon the government for healthcare, it is the government that gets to draw that line between ‘disabled’ and ‘not disabled enough.’

But Jeff, you say, if private coverage is governing, those private insurers also need to draw that line somewhere as well.  True, but in the case of private insurers, that line is being drawn and risk is being assessed so as to keep the insurer solvent and–dare I say–profitable, whereas in the case of the government that distinction is drawn because of a line on a budget, or because of other racial or demographical issues.

In essence, what we see out of the DWP in Britain in this case is not unlike the “death panels” brought by Sarah Palin to the forefront of the debate over the healthcare bill signed into law one year ago yesterday.  Across the pond, a bureaucracy has decided that little Olivia is “not disabled enough” — here, should we have similar departments and panels and committees deciding if grandma gets that life-saving surgery or if she is forced to simply take the pain pill?

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