The British are Discussing the Cost Advantage of Assisted Suicide on the NHS Budget

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 15th, 2012

Week in Review

During bad economic times nations see their tax revenues fall.  States with large public state benefits are hit especially hard.  And there is no greater and more costly state benefit than national health care.  So it is not surprising that there is talk about battling the rising cost of health care with legalized assisted suicide (see Recession strengthens case against assisted suicide, MPs say by John Bingham posted 9/15/2012 on The Telegraph).

MPS fear that moves to legalise assisted suicide in the midst of the current economic crisis could place frail and vulnerable people under added pressure to end their lives, the first poll of its kind has found…

Strong majorities also feared that changing the law could lead to vulnerable people – including even those with treatable conditions such as depression – feeling under pressure to opt for suicide.

This is the scary side of socialized medicine.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  And if the few are costing too much they provide a means for the many to reduce the high cost of health care.

The National Health Service (NHS) is running a deficit.  The UK deficit is in large part due to the NHS.  So you know there are some bureaucrats thinking how much easier things would be if they had a way to remove their largest expense.  Treating sick people.  Especially those who consume a lot of health care benefits over a long period of time.  For one pill or injection is less costly than months of life support that could extend out to years.

The real scary part is once this becomes policy.  For who will make these decisions?  To end life?  Or to allow life to continue?  For the thing about terminal diseases is that they take some time to advance.  People don’t wake up one day in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.  It could take up to 10 years or more for Alzheimer’s to claim a life.  So the question is when will that decision be made?  Year 9 of the disease?  Year 8?  Year 7?  Is it a judgment call?  The problem with that is that Alzheimer’s patients have their good days.  And they have their bad days.  If the medical bureaucrats judge them on one of their bad days they could deprive family from a few more months to a year or more of additional time with their loved one.  Who may be a burden to the government.  But is still a loved family member to someone.

People talked about death panels in Obamacare.  Even though Obamacare does not include the phrase ‘death panels’.  But they are there.  For Obamacare has an unelected panel of medical bureaucrats that will be making health care decisions for others.  With the goal of making health care more cost efficient.  And the best way to do that is to reduce the number of high consumers of health care services.  So don’t be surprised when they are having assisted suicide debates in the U.S. Congress.  For Obamacare will cause much larger budget deficits than the NHS has ever caused.  Because the U.S. has five times the population the UK has.  And will have five times the patients the NHS has.

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