The UK newspaper, Guardian, posed several comments from American opponents of the British National Health Service and asked for their response.
Republican claim: Ted Kennedy, age 77 would not be treated for his brain tumor if he was in the UK because he is too old.
Reality: The Department of Health responded: “There is no ban on anyone of any age receiving any treatment. Whether to prescribe drugs or recommended surgery is rightly a clinical decision taken on a case by case basis.”
Government health officials have decided that $22,750 is what six months’ life is worth. If the treatment costs more, you are out of luck.
Reality: The National Institute of Health And Clinical Experience (NICE) responded: “This is a gross misrepresentation of how NICE applies health economics to try and address the central issue: how to allocate healthcare rationally within the context of limited health care resources… The current ceiling is $50,000 but exceptions are made”
My comment: Do Republicans deny that American health insurance companies often deny costly medical procedures?
Claim: No one over 59 years of age cannot receive heart repairs, stents, or bypass surgery because it is not covered as being too expensive and not needed.
Reality: Totally untrue. Professor Peter Wiessberg of the British Heart Foundation says growing numbers of patients over 65 are having surgery, including valve repairs and heart bypass surgery. The average age at which people have a bypass operation has risen from 58 in 1991 to 66 in 2008.
Claim: The British NHS system ‘does not allow” women under 30 to receive screening for cervical cancer.
Reality: Women are invited to attend for cervical cancer screening from age 20 upwards.
And so on and so on. Of course, in nations like the Netherlands which have health insurance for all people life expectancy is higher than in America.