Too Sick or too Old? Sorry, no Health Care for You in the NHS or in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Critics of Obamacare warned that this national health care system would contain death panels.  Too sick or too old?  Sorry, no health care for you.  That’s ridiculous said the supporters of Obamacare.  There was no mention of ‘death panels’ anywhere in the bill.  And there’s probably no mention of death panels in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  But elderly patients are left to die all of the time.  Precisely because they are too old (see Sentenced to death for being old: The NHS denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man’s chilling story reveals by John Naish posted 4/6/2012 on the Daily Mail).

When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat.

Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

His distraught daughter Michele Halligan accepted the sad prognosis but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort. So she paid for him to seen privately by a second doctor to discover what could be done to ease his symptoms.

Thanks to her tenacity, Kenneth got the drugs and surgery he needed — and as a result his cancer was actually cured. Four years on, he is a sprightly 82-year-old who works out at the gym, drives a sports car and competes in a rowing team…

Sadly, Kenneth’s story is symptomatic of a dreadful truth. According to shocking new research by Macmillan Cancer Support, every year many thousands of older people are routinely denied life-saving NHS treatments because their doctors write them off as too old to treat…

This kind of ‘professional opinion’ appears to be costing more than 14,000 lives each year, thanks to routine discrimination by doctors who assume older patients are too frail for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

This is according to experts at Macmillan Cancer Support, who warned last week that every day up to 40 elderly cancer sufferers are dying needlessly because they are being denied the best treatments. This is particularly true, it says, for patients over the age of 70.

The charity estimates that if the treatment of older patients matched that on offer in the U.S., as many as 14,000 lives could be saved every year…

Last week, the respected health research charity, the King’s Fund, warned that prejudice about older people means they often go without treatment for conditions such as depression, and are not even tested for illnesses such as heart disease.

This is despite huge advances in medical care which mean that patients can now successfully undergo major surgery at ages where they would not previously be expected to survive.

In America, doctors pioneering the field of ‘geriatric surgery’ regularly perform open-heart surgery on people in their 90s…

Last year, research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network found evidence of widespread age-based discrimination in the NHS on women with breast cancer.

Its study of 23,000 sufferers found that 90 per cent of those aged 30 to 50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared to 82 per cent of those aged 60 to 70, and 70 per cent of those in their 70s…

So if you’re elderly and you live in America you better get your health care fast.  Before Obamacare kicks in.  And decides you’re too old to treat.  For if they’re doing it in the NHS they’ll be doing it in Obamacare.  Not because they are mean and hate old people.  But simply because of the economics.  Doctors will advise families that there is no money to spend on their loved ones.  But don’t be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

It is ironic that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) supported Obamacare as they are supposed to represent the elderly that pay their membership fees.  Why you ask would they do something like this?  Well, they sell insurance policies to seniors that pay for what Medicare doesn’t cover.  Medigap policies.  And to get AARP onboard with Obamacare the new health care law exempts AARP from pricing formulas restricting the amount of their premiums spent on non-health services.  Allowing them to charge higher premiums than Obamacare allows other insurers to charge.  At least according to The Daily Caller.  So when Obamacare denies seniors life-saving treatments AARP can tell their families not to be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

Advocates of national health care like to point to the NHS and say that is the model to follow.  And we are now moving in that direction with Obamacare.  Which can mean only one thing.  Death panels will follow.  Even though they are not specifically mentioned in the bill.  Because when it comes down to it health care is a game of numbers.  Accounting decisions.  Especially when the government runs it.  And the only way to control costs is by rationing services.  And what better way to ration services than by simply withholding them from the greatest consumers of those services?  The elderly.  Don’t think it will happen?  Just look at the NHS.  That is our future.  Where health care isn’t about doing what’s right for the patient.  But controlling costs.  But it’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

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