Ilovebenefits’s Blog

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Health Care Rationing English Style

Editor’s note: So, portions of the UK are implementing rationing based on lifestyle choices. The ultimate in personal responsibility. As costs in the US rise, will similar actions be taken? Suspend your disbelief, it could come to that. At some point if the excise or ‘cadillac’ tax comes to fruition and health care costs continue to spiral out of control, health plans will evolve into designs that cover preventive care and catastrophic care. Everything in between will be the individual’s responsibility.

Patients are being denied operations on the NHS simply because they are overweight or smoke, a Sky News survey has found.

Nine primary care trusts have a specific policy to refuse joint replacements to obese patients. And four will notconsider orthopaedic surgery if patients smoke.

In all, six million patients live in areas affected by so-called lifestyle rationing.

However, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt defended the policy.

She told Sky’s Sunday Live: “That is a perfectly legitimate clinical decision. I support doctors making clinical decisions in the interests of their patients.


December 16, 2009 - Posted by | Cost, Federal Government, healthcare, Prevention and Wellness | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This is nothing short of determining who gets medical care based on life style choices. Who decides what life style choices merit medical care? Would it be appropriate to deny care based on the patient pulling up to the office in an SUV? Would sexual preferences and practices be fair game for withholding medical care? Could one justify rationing of care based on whether the patient is a vegetarian? Could a national health care system monitor the number, timing and quality of patient exercise outings during a week as a calibrator for offering care? Would it be acceptable to determine eligibility based on a particular BMI? It would be interesting to learn Americans’ reactions to such a regime. Obviously, UK Health Secretary Hewitt has no issue with this type of rationing system.

    Comment by Douglas Foss | December 17, 2009 | Reply

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