There are trade-offs every where, we all know, including for health care. How much do you spend to provide how much treatment to which payments? These decisions often are not easy. But at least in a decentralized, private system lots of people are making those decisions. Nationalized systems centralize the decisions over life and death, and hand them to politicians and bureaucrats.
The National Health System in Great Britain is refreshingly honest. If we don’t think it’s worth the money to save your life, tough. It’s the public interest, you know!
Patients cannot rely on the NHS to save their lives if the cost of doing so is too great, the Government’s medicines watchdog has ruled for the first time.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said the natural impulse to go to the aid of individuals in trouble — as when vast resources are used to save a sailor lost at sea — should not apply to the NHS.
The disclosure follows last week’s controversial decision by Nice to reject four new drugs for kidney cancer even though they have been shown to extend life by five to six months.
Nice has been under pressure from the drug industry to apply the so-called “rule of rescue” to such cases, setting aside costs in instances where treatment is necessary to save life. But the institute has decided that if drugs are too expensive they should not be prescribed even if they prolong life, because the money could be better spent elsewhere. The judgement overrules advice from Nice’s own citizen’s council, which recommended two years ago that it should adopt a “rule of rescue” as an essential mark of a humane society.
Give me the messy U.S. system, with all of its many flaws, anytime, compared to the NHS.