The Spectacle Blog

Britain Balances Its Healthcare Budget on the Backs of the Sick — LITERALLY!

By on 8.2.09 | 3:25PM

Ah, humane socialist healthcare.

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is cutting off painkilling drugs for some chronic back pain sufferers in order to reduce costs, the Telegraph (UK) reports.

This frightening story from Jolly Olde England ought to serve as a warning to Americans high on ObamaCare.

From the Telegraph article:

It hardly needs to be said that if a government takeover of America's healthcare system happens, such headlines are likely to become commonplace here.

The Government's drug rationing watchdog says "therapeutic" injections of steroids, such as cortisone, which are used to reduce inflammation, should no longer be offered to patients suffering from persistent lower back pain when the cause is not known.

Instead the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is ordering doctors to offer patients remedies like acupuncture and osteopathy.

Specialists fear tens of thousands of people, mainly the elderly and frail, will be left to suffer excruciating levels of pain or pay as much as £500 each for private treatment.

The NHS currently issues more than 60,000 treatments of steroid injections every year. NICE said in its guidance it wants to cut this to just 3,000 treatments a year, a move which would save the NHS £33 million.

But the British Pain Society, which represents specialists in the field, has written to NICE calling for the guidelines to be withdrawn after its members warned that they would lead to many patients having to undergo unnecessary and high-risk spinal surgery. [...]

That's just one universal healthcare horror story from the United Kingdom. There are thousands of others.

And just wait until socialist medicine comes to America.

The practice of medicine will become explicitly political.

Bureaucrats will make decisions that deny care and then the interest group warfare will begin because Americans, unlike submissive, statist Europeans, don't like being told how to live by government officials.

It will be a bonanza for lobbyists and lawyers as they advocate for their respective patient interest groups. Politically effective groups will carry the day and those patients who lack political pull will be forced to go without care or will be provided substandard care.

Think of the frenzied lobbying and legislative horse trading that took place during the brief debate over President Obama's stimulus legislation -- and multiply that by 300 million.

That could very well be America's future.

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