Monday, February 25, 2008

Careful What you Wish For

All politicians claim to want to do something about our healthcare system. Those on the Democratic side tend toward the single payer model while those on the Republican side tend a litte more toward the market side. For those of you who believe that single payer government run healthcare is the answer, this article from the NYT is must reading:

One such case was Debbie Hirst’s. Her breast cancer had metastasized, and the health service would not provide her with Avastin, a drug that is widely used in the United States and Europe to keep such cancers at bay. So, with her oncologist’s support, she decided last year to try to pay the $120,000 cost herself, while continuing with the rest of her publicly financed treatment.

By December, she had raised $20,000 and was preparing to sell her house to raise more. But then the government, which had tacitly allowed such arrangements before, put its foot down. Mrs. Hirst heard the news from her doctor.

“He looked at me and said: ‘I’m so sorry, Debbie. I’ve had my wrists slapped from the people upstairs, and I can no longer offer you that service,’ ” Mrs. Hirst said in an interview.

“I said, ‘Where does that leave me?’ He said, ‘If you pay for Avastin, you’ll have to pay for everything’ ” — in other words, for all her cancer treatment, far more than she could afford.

Officials said that allowing Mrs. Hirst and others like her to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the health service by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones.

Now that her cancer has spread, the health service is paying for Avastin. Of course, it may be too late for her. There is much more in this article that is disturbing. If you don't think the government has done a good job in other areas (infrastructure for instance) why in the world would you want the government to control the healthcare system? Please read the whole thing....

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