Women with Breast Cancer suffer higher Death Rates in Britain’s National Health Service

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

The whole push for Obamacare was to provide quality care for all Americans.  Not just those who could afford it.  Health care was going to be classless.  There would be true equality.  No one would receive any better care than anyone else.  Because health care is not a privilege.  It’s a right.  Or so the proponents of national health care say.  And why they supported Obamacare.  A waypoint on the path to true universal care.  Where everyone gets the best health care whenever they need it.  Just like in Britain.  Whose National Health Service (NHS) is what those in America want Obamacare to evolve into.  So health care in America will be just as good as health care in Britain (see British women ‘dying quicker of breast cancer than elsewhere’ by Stephen Adams posted 3/1/2013 on The Telegraph).

Academics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found the proportion of women in the UK surviving at least three years after being diagnosed was 87 to 89 percent, which was similar to Denmark.

In Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden three-year survival was 91 to 94 per cent for the period examined, between 2000 and 2007…

In Britain only 28 per cent made it to three years, but in Sweden 42 per cent did…

Dr Sarah Walters, lead author, said: “We should now investigate whether the treatment of women with later-stage breast cancer meets international standards. There is particular concern that this is not the case, especially for older women”.

Sara Hiom from Cancer Research UK, which helped with the study, said: “We need to investigate the possibility that fewer women with later stage breast cancer in the UK receive the best treatment for their circumstances…”

“The NHS is also working to ensure all patients are treated as individuals and receive care that meets their healthcare needs whatever their age or condition.”

National health care is great.  As long as you’re not old.  For those old people are very costly to treat.  Because they’re living longer into retirement.  Consuming ever more health care dollars (or British pounds) for a few months more of life.  If Britain wants to get their health care costs under control they could save a lot by not treating some of these highest consumers of health care.  Putting some of them, instead, on the Liverpool Care Pathway.  Where doctors can withdraw treatment to let terminal ill patients die with dignity.  While saving precious health care dollars/pounds for use elsewhere.  Cold and callous, yes, but it is happening.

They don’t call the Liverpool Care Pathway a death panel.  But it is one.  Especially when some people are placed on the pathway without consulting with the person’s family first.  Something to look forward to as Obamacare evolves more into a national health care system.  As well as higher death rates for women with breast cancer.  Where there will be more equality.  As we lower the quality of care for everyone by trying to do more with less.  As health care costs soar due to aging populations.  People living longer into retirement.  And tax revenues fall due to aging populations.  Fewer people entering the workforce to pay for those living longer into retirement.  Leaving death panels as one of the few ways for governments to cut costs.

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Scottish Woman with Swine Flu airlifted to an English Hospital 250 Miles Away

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 24th, 2013

Week in Review

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been suffering from the costs of an aging population.  People are living longer into retirement thanks to extensive medical care.  While fewer people are entering the workforce to pay the taxes that pay for that extensive medical care.  Resulting in longer wait times.  Shortages of doctors and nurses.  Rationing.  And the closing of hospitals.  Or transferring specialties to centrally located hospitals to achieve some economies of scale (see Scottish flu victim airlifted to Leicester hospital posted 2/24/2013 on BBC News South Scotland).

A Scottish woman is in intensive care at a specialist hospital in Leicester after contracting a suspected form of swine flu.

Jennifer Scott was transferred by helicopter from Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary after she was diagnosed with a serious “flu-type illness”…

A spokeswoman for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said the patient had been flown to Glenfield as it was one of a limited number of hospitals in the UK that had specialist equipment required for her case.

Note that they transferred this Scottish woman to an English hospital.  Where one of the limited hospitals with specialist equipment was located.  But this wasn’t just a stone’s throw over Hadrian’s Wall.  Dumfries, Scotland, and Leicester, England, are about 250 miles apart.  Boston and New York City are just a little closer to each other.  Can you imagine a patient coming down with swine flu in Boston having to be airlifted to New York City?  To a hospital with the appropriate specialist equipment?  Of course not.  But, then again, you haven’t lived under the fully implemented Obamacare yet.

There’s a reason why they had to airlift this woman some 250 miles.  The cost of national health care just doesn’t permit building hospitals like Glenfield Hospital in all of their cities.  The U.S. has an aging population, too.  And will follow the NHS example to cut costs under Obamacare.  Where there will be an ongoing effort to do more with less.  Which will lead to moving specialties to fewer hospitals.  For what is a few hours of travel compared to the cost savings?

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In the NHS all Britons are Equal only some Britons are more Equal than Others

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

One of the driving forces behind Obamacare was equality.  Everyone was to have equal access to quality health care.  Not just the rich.  That’s why the United States needed to move towards what the British have.  Their National Health Service (NHS) provides equality.  In Britain it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.  Everyone gets access to quality health care (see Ministers pledge to reduce child mortality by Press Association posted 2/18/2013 on the guardian).

A new national pledge to reduce child deaths is to be announced by the government.

The all-cause mortality rate for children aged between 0 and 14 years has moved from the average to among the worst in Europe, figures show, while more than a quarter (26%) of children’s deaths showed “identifiable failure in the child’s direct care”…

New measures include increasing data so the NHS and local authorities can obtain better information to improve the health of young people; piloting a survey to generate details of local health problems such as drug and alcohol use; and launching colour coded health maps to highlight trends for conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

The health minister, Dr Dan Poulter, said: “For too long, Britain’s childhood mortality rates have been amongst the worst in Europe when compared to similar countries.

“In particular, there is unacceptable variation across the country in the quality of care for children – for example in the treatment of long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

Apparently some people are more equal than others in Britain.  With children being the least equal.  Apparently.

Now does this show Britain hates children?  No.  They don’t.  Remember the 2012 Summer Olympic Games?  In London?  Where they celebrated their NHS with lots of happy kids in hospital beds?  Britain loves their children.  It’s just that national health care is not as great as people think it is.

Britain’s aging population is producing great cost pressures on the NHS.  As it will on Obamacare.  Forcing the British to do more with less.  Just as it will force the Americans to do more with less.  And when you try to do more with less people fall through the cracks.  As these children have.  As American children will.  For one thing for certain is that the more government is involved the worse things tend to get.  Just compare renewing your driver’s license to going to the store.  Which is a more enjoyable experience?  Which provides a better value for the money.  Which has more courteous people?  Which satisfies your needs more?  The answer is the one with less government.  Going to the store.  For many people love shopping.  While no one enjoys renewing their driver’s license.

People don’t like dealing with their insurance companies.  They don’t mind seeing their doctors.  But they hate fighting the insurance companies to pay for their health care.  Now imagine your doctors and nurses becoming more like the insurance companies.  Which they will under Obamacare.  For they will all have to answer to a government bureaucrat.  And one thing for certain is the more government is involved the worse things tend to get.

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FT158: “Journalists are more partisan than wise.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Mainstream Media sacrifice their Journalistic Integrity to help the Obama Administration Advance their Agenda

The president has warned that the $85 billion in spending cuts of the sequester will gut government programs leaving Americans at great peril.  This despite baseline budgeting automatically increases spending every year.  From 1974 (after Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold and the government adopted baseline budgeting) through 2008 (before the spending orgy of the Obama administration) federal spending increased approximately 7.5% each year.  Crunching the numbers for the spending increase from 2012 to 2013 we get $284.7 billion.  Applying the cuts of the sequester reduces this increase in spending to $199.7 billion.  We will spend more in 2013 than we did in 2012.  Even AFTER the sequester cuts.  So all the peril the president is warning us about is not real.  He’s lying for political gain.

Yet the mainstream media is discussing this issue as if there are real cuts in spending.  That we will reduce spending in the numerous government programs the president warns about if we let the sequester happen.  Less food inspection.  Less airport security.  Fewer police officers.  Fewer firefighters.  Fewer teachers.  Fewer flu vaccinations.  And less childcare.  In their reports they discuss these as a matter of fact.  When they are just not true.  And it’s no secret.  Anyone can do what we did and look at federal outlays and see the automatic spending increases each year.  And see that we will still spend more in 2013 after the sequester cuts than we did in 2012.  You’d think a journalist would study the facts.  The historical record.  And then question the president and his administration.  Ask them why they are lying.  But they don’t.  Why?

Because they are partisan.  Committed to the leftist agenda the president is trying to pass.  So they either help spread the lie.  Being complicit in the lie.  Or they spread the lie because they are victims of the lie.  They are so committed to the leftist agenda that they don’t question anything coming from the liberal left.  Because they want to believe.  They sacrifice their journalistic integrity to help the administration advance their agenda.  More a propaganda arm of the administration than a free press.  The kind of journalism they practice in Venezuela.  Cuba.  China.  North Korea.  And the kind of journalism they practiced in East Germany.  The Soviet Union.  And Nazi Germany.  Where there was no free press.  Only state propaganda.  Propaganda in a totalitarian regime is one thing.  They already oppress their people and their news is more for the benefit of outsiders.  Where they lie about record harvests.  And record gains in industrial production.  Things their people have long stopped believing as they suffer through the misery of the reality.  But it’s different in a free country.  For it lends legitimacy for illegitimate actions of government.  And allows them to overstep the restraints of their constitutional authority.

The Mainstream Media helped Downplay the Resurgent al Qaeda in Benghazi to help President Obama win Reelection

In 2010 the greatest cause of accidental deaths for children age 5-15 was motor vehicle accidents.  In 2010 there were 806 deaths.  Representing 49.1% of all deaths.  The number two cause was drowning with 251 deaths.  Or 15.3% of the total.  Next came fire/burn at 135 deaths.  Then death by suffocation at 79 deaths.  Then death by other land transportation at 68 deaths.  Then poisoning at 54 deaths.  Then came firearms at 37 deaths.  Yet many in the mainstream media actively support the Obama administration in their push for gun control.  Especially a ban on assault weapons.  Even if (as they say so often) it saves only one child.  But guns aren’t the leading cause of death for children.  In fact, as horrific as scenes like the Newtown shooting are they are very rare occurrences.  Far more children die in automobile accidents each year.  No doubt because we are driving smaller cars to save the planet (lighter cars means greater gas mileage and less pollution).  But the journalists don’t report this fact.  Because they endorse the leftist agenda of saving the planet.  And more gun control.  Even if saving the planet means the death of more children from driving in smaller and less safe cars.  While more gun control probably won’t save a single child.

The Obama administration’s foreign policy record has been a poor one.  The greatest threat to peace and stability in the Mideast and North Africa is Iran.  Yet the Obama administration did not support the Green Revolution protesting the 2009 Iranian election results that most felt were unfair.  There are few bigger enemies of the United States.  The Iranian supported insurgency killed or wounded a lot of U.S. military in Iraq.  Our strongest allies in the region (Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) all feared growing Iranian influence in the region.  But given an opportunity to support an uprising that could overthrow a great enemy to peace and stability the Obama administration did nothing.  But when the Arab Spring swept through Egypt the president abandoned one of America’s most stalwart allies and the anchor to stability in the region.  Hosni Mubarak.  Now the Iranian influence in Egypt is stronger than ever.  When the Arab Spring spread to Libya the Obama administration supported that movement, too.  Despite Colonel Muammar Gaddafi having denounced terrorism and supported the Americans in the war against al Qaeda.  When the Arab Spring spread to Syria the president did not support that protest.  Despite Syria being Iran’s strongest ally in the region.  A sponsor of terrorism.  And a nation with a chemical arsenal likely manufactured by Iraq (those weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had used on his people but had disappeared when the Americans arrived on the scene, likely having skedaddled across the border into Syria).  As bad as the ruling regime was in Syria we did nothing to help Syrians overthrow their oppressor.

Now civil war engulfs Syria.  Elements of al Qaeda have joined the opposition.  Making sure Iran wins however things turn out there.  And the Iranian influence is stronger than ever in Libya.  When al Qaeda killed the American diplomat in Benghazi the Obama administration made up a story about a YouTube video causing spontaneous protests that led to the ambassador’s death along with three other Americans.  To downplay a resurgent al Qaeda during the 2012 election campaign.  As they had refused to beef up security in Benghazi as the ambassador requested.  Because it would look bad in the 2012 election.  Yet the mainstream media did not question these very poor decisions the Obama administration made for political reasons.  Instead accepting their position that there was nothing newsworthy in Benghazi.  Which they wholeheartedly reported.  Refusing to even ask questions.  Such as why did they refuse the ambassador’s request for more security?  Who edited the talking points for Ambassador Rice used for the Sunday morning shows?  Or why is al Qaeda now stronger in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa after 4 years of the Obama administration that they were during 8 years of the Bush administration?  No.  They showed no journalistic curiosity.  Or integrity.  Simply accepting the administration’s statements as fact.  While the Middle East and Africa become more dangerous places.

The Mainstream Media is no longer a Free Press for the People but a Propaganda Arm of the Obama Administration

Obamacare is the most sweeping change to the American economy since LBJ’s Great Society.  Which was the most sweeping change since FDR’s New Deal.  The American Left has always wanted a national health care system.  Just like what they have in the United Kingdom.  The Left likes to point to their National Health Service (NHS) as the right way to do health care.  As does the mainstream media.  Yet if you read the British papers their NHS is not all the American Left says it is.  Britain’s aging population has caused health care spending to explode.  The UK is in the midst of massive budget cuts to bring down health care spending.  While the NHS has long tried to deal with chronic problems of long wait times.  Rationing.  A shortage of doctors and nurses.  Even ambulances.  Their emergency rooms are overflowing with people with non-emergencies as the NHS closed their neighborhood clinics to reduce costs.  And the quality of care has been falling in their hospitals.  The problems in the NHS are no secret.  All you have to do is pick up a British paper and read about them.  For they are ongoing.  Yet the mainstream media never reported these problems during the Obamacare debate.  Or what passed for a debate.  No.  They never asked how Obamacare was going to avoid all the problems they were having in the NHS.  Which they should have.  As the US has an aging population, too.  Worse, they have about five times the population the UK has.  Guaranteeing any problems they have will be five times worse in the US.  Serious questions a good journalist should have asked.  But no.  They didn’t.  Because they support the liberal agenda more than they believe in journalistic integrity.  So they only report what helps the administration.  While avoiding anything that is critical of them.  Or their agenda.

When it comes to economics the mainstream media are all supporters of Keynesian economics.  Despite their record of failure.  When Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold in 1971 it allowed the government to go all in with Keynesian economics.  And they did.  Printing so much money that it led to excessive inflation, high unemployment and economic stagnation.  Ronald Reagan reversed those Keynesian policies.  His administration stopped printing money.  And got the government out of the private sector economy.  Cutting regulations.  As well as tax rates.  And economic activity exploded.  There was so much economic activity that tax revenue nearly doubled.  Even at those lower tax rates.  But the mainstream media doesn’t report this.  Instead, they revise history.  Always supporting Keynesian economic policies as they allow government to expand.  So they can implement their leftist agenda.  Which is anti-business.  Pushing higher regulations.  And higher taxes.  And whenever anyone talks about Reaganomics they say those cuts in tax rates only increased the deficit.  When the historical record clearly shows tax receipts increased.  Which they could easily look up (see Table 2.1—RECEIPTS BY SOURCE: 1934–2017).  But they don’t.  Or chose not to.  Preferring to support the liberal agenda.  Instead of having journalistic integrity.

The mainstream media today is no longer a free press for the people.  They are an extension of the Democrat Party.  At least the liberal wing of the Democrat Party.  More of a propaganda arm of the Obama administration.  That is more interested in changing the country than keeping our politicians honest.  Or reporting the facts.  They are fiercely partisan.  Or they are just not very smart.  Either woefully ignorant of the material they report on.  Or so in the bag for the Obama administration that they will report falsehoods as truth.  The kind of thing that isn’t a big deal in a totalitarian regime.  But a pretty big deal in a free country with a government that continues to try to exceed its constitutional authority.  For a free press is the vanguard of a free country.  Keeping the politicians honest so they can’t exceed their constitutional authority.  And if the journalists aren’t going to do their job by the time we find out what our politicians are doing it will be too late.  As we now have Obamacare as law.  Which passed on partisan lines.  With enough moderates and independents voting for Obamacare as few in America knew of all the problems the British were having with their national health care.  Today it’s Obamacare.  Tomorrow it may be gun control.  Or a war in the Middle East thanks to a resurgent al Qaeda.  And a growing Iranian influence.  Thanks to such a poor job in foreign policy that if the mainstream media had reported it honestly President Obama may not have won reelection.  And four Americans may not have died in Benghazi.

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Quality suffers in the NHS as they continuously have Fewer People do More with Less

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 27th, 2013

Week in Review

During the Summer Olympics in London last year the British showcased the National Health Service (NHS) during the opening ceremonies.  To show the world how great it is.  And how much the British people love their NHS.  For it is national health care at its best.  Well, the best that can be expected when your costs exceed your revenues.  And you have to ask fewer and fewer people to do more with less (see Police investigate hospital where dummy was taped to baby’s mouth by Sam Jones and agencies posted 1/27/2013 on the guardian).

A NHS trust criticised for its “appalling standards of care” has been forced to apologise after a baby boy was found with a dummy [i.e., a pacifier] taped to his face in one of its hospitals…

A separate, highly critical report by the Healthcare Commission in 2009 revealed a catalogue of failings at the trust and said “appalling standards” had put patients at risk.

In a three-year period from 2005 to 2008, the commission said, between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected.

In February 2010, an independent inquiry into events at the trust found it had “routinely neglected patients”.

A recent report, conducted by a team of independent experts on behalf of the regulator, Monitor, concluded that Mid Staffs was “financially and clinically unsustainable”.

It recently emerged the trust had paid out more than £1m in compensation to 120 victims of abuse or their families.

Not quite what they were portraying during the opening ceremonies.  Now there is more good in the NHS than there is stuff like this.  But what it shows is the dehumanizing nature of national health care.  Fewer people doing more with less.  Which means they have to ‘mass-produce’ health care.  Input as many people as possible into the system.  Process them as quickly as possible.  Then kick them out of the system.  And just as overworked people in factories complain about being overworked and underpaid, and quality suffers because of it, so is it, too, in hospitals.  Which leads to someone taping a pacifier to a baby’s mouth.  Appalling standards.  Routinely neglected patients.  And higher than expected death rates.

This is what happens when you nationalize health care.  And have an aging population.  The aging population shrinks the tax base which shrinks tax revenues that pay for health care.  While at the same time increasing health care costs to deal with that aging population.  Which leads to fewer people doing more with less.  And the problems they’re having in the NHS.  As we will have under Obamacare.  For Obamacare will be working with an aging population.  Where fewer people will have to do more with less.

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The British love their NHS despite a Vast and Growing Number of Patients receiving Horrible Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2012

Week in Review

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London the opening ceremonies included a tribute to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  To show to the world how wonderful it is.  And how much the British love it.  As long as they were not a seriously ill patient in the NHS.  Or had a loved one that was.  Because for these people it’s not the beautiful thing they showed in the opening ceremonies (see The cult of the NHS, flinging flans and the plight of poor old Richard Dawkins by Damian Thompson posted 12/28/2012 on The Telegraph).

Just as light entertainers prance across our screens shrieking about “charidee”, so politicians and churchmen intone their devotion to the NHS, like politburo members singing the praises of the Motherland.

Our health service doesn’t deserve this sycophancy. Or, rather, it deserves better than self-serving rhetoric whose subliminal message is: “Look at me! I lurve the NHS more than you do! I am a good person..!”

Nigel Lawson famously said that the NHS was the closest thing the British had to a national religion. He was right – but we need to ask ourselves why a system of providing health care has become so sanctified. After all, the newspapers have been running stories about dirty wards and patients left to die on trolleys for many years.

We know these stories are true; yet we still applaud when Danny Boyle uses the Olympic ceremony to present a rose-tinted vision of dancing nurses and twirling beds – “Busby Berkeley on the cancer ward,” as my colleague Tim Stanley put it.

The problem is that our health service has passed the point where it can work the magic we demand. As we reported last week, Alexandra Hospital in Redditch has apologised to 38 families for neglect that left dying people screaming in pain and one old lady unwashed for 11 weeks. The staff who taunted patients there aren’t typical of their profession – but neither are the invariably “dedicated” nurses of our imagination.

The average nurse is neither more nor less dedicated than the average accountant. But he or she does face much tougher challenges – specifically, of dealing with more and more very old people whose care is difficult and expensive to manage.

Perhaps at the next Olympics the United States hosts they will have a twirling-bed tribute to Obamacare.  For Obamacare will be similar to the NHS.  And no doubt will soon have patients left dying and screaming in pain and unwashed for 11 weeks.  For if the British have these problems the U.S. will most certainly have them when they follow the British down the path of national health care.  Because both the British and the Americans have aging populations.  Only the Americans will have 5 times those very old people who are difficult and expensive to manage.  As we have 5 times the population Britain has.

Just something to look forward to as Obamacare starts going into effect in January.  In addition to going over the fiscal cliff.  And the resulting recession from those massive tax hikes.  So Happy New Year.  It’ll definitely be a year to remember.  And one we may soon want to forget.

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NHS closes Emergency Departments to Save Costs while Angering Britons

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 14th, 2012

Week in Review

Some of the most expensive services in health care are emergency departments.  Or A/E departments in Britain.  For accident and emergency departments.  Because you need a lot of staffing to handle everything from a heart attack to severe trauma from an accident to a difficult pregnancy.  Doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, pharmacists, administrative, cleaning, security, etc.  Not to mention the diagnostic equipment.  Medical devices.  Medicine.  Oxygen.  It adds up.  So it’s no surprise that the NHS is looking at A/E closures to cut costs (see 28,619 Mail on Sunday readers write to Government to stop A&E closures… and Ministers still do nothing by Nick Craven and David Rose posted 10/13/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Thousands of you sent in your protests against A&E closures – and this week we delivered two bulging mailbags full of your demands to David Cameron’s doorstep.

Nearly 30,000 Mail on Sunday readers have called for the Government to reverse the policy of downgrading and axeing local casualty departments across England and Wales.

A total of 28,619 protests were lodged – 17,170 coupons, 7,377 emails and 4,072 text messages – all prompted by fears that the policy for big, centralised A&E departments could risk lives as it leads to longer journey times to hospital…

Changes in London could result in a massive 47 per increase in the number of people served by each A&E department.

You ever waited for a long time to see a doctor in a crowded emergency waiting room?  Before Obamacare in America?  It was not uncommon on a busy night to wait for up to 3 hours if you had a non-life-threatening condition.  Now imagine being in that waiting room with 47% more people waiting with you.  Which could easily extend that wait time to 4-5 hours.  Or more.  Which is what will happen as Obamacare mutates into a national health service like they have in Britain.  Which is what the proponents of Obamacare want.  National health care.

At that time even the proponents of Obamacare won’t like Obamacare.  And they, too, will mail in enough complaints to fill two bulging mailbags.  (Based on the US having five times the population of the UK, that would probably be 10 bulging mail bags.)  Because these people will want everything for nothing.  But they won’t understand the cost of everything.  Or why the health service will have to cut costs, increase wait times and ration health care treatment.  And they will.  Because the NHS is.  And they can probably do national health care better than Obamacare ever will.

As as well as travelling longer distances after answering 999 calls, it will have to pick up seriously ill patients who turn up at the so-called ‘urgent  care centres’ which are set to replace A&Es but in reality cannot treat any life-threatening conditions.

At just one of the hospitals where A&E is due to close, Ealing, there is already an urgent care centre which transfers up to 50 patients a day to casualty.

Currently, this is a short journey down a corridor, but if casualty closes, as planned, all the patients will have to be transferred by blue-light ambulance to an A&E somewhere else, probably West Middlesex 20 minutes away, or Northwick Park, 45 minutes away.

To cut costs national health care services have really only one option.  As they cannot tell people to have 10% fewer accidents and health care emergencies.  Which leaves health care overhead.  If you close an emergency department (A/E department) you can save some money.  Close a few and you can save a lot of money.  So they do.  And make people travel further for their health care.  Up to 45 minutes by ambulance.  Perhaps an hour or more by car.  Even longer by train for those non-life-threatening emergencies.

This is the future of health care in America.  Under Obamacare.  And whatever that evolves into.  The NHS had some good years.  Before the British population began aging.  Now the British population is older.  More people are leaving the workforce while fewer are entering to replace them.  And as they leave the workforce they’re consuming more and more health care services.  Causing the cost strains in the NHS.  And the need for those cost savings.

This would be the starting point for the Americans.  They would not have the good years the NHS had.  Because right from the get-go they will be struggling with the costs of an aging population.  Which they will have to tackle right away by cutting costs, increasing wait times and the rationing of health care treatment.  Meaning that when trying to provide everything for everyone they will end up providing only for those some bureaucrat deems worthy of those limited health care resources.  They won’t be called death panels in the new health care law.  But they will be death panels.  Because someone will have to decide who gets those limited health care resources.  And who doesn’t.  Because they just won’t be able to give everything to everyone.  As the proponents of Obamacare think they will be able to.  And they will be none too happy when they learn this unpleasant little fact.

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Waiting Times may be on the Rise in Britain as the NHS Struggles to Cut Costs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2012

Week in Review

It would be nice if we could step into a time machine to see how a government policy would turn out in the future.  To see if it did everything they said it would do.  If it made things better.  Or if that policy would be a complete and utter failure.  Well, time machines don’t exist.  But we can do the next best thing to time travel.  We can look at another nation that long ago enacted similar legislation.  And see what it did for them.  Such as looking at Britain.  And their National Health Service (NHS) (see Join the back of the queue: Waiting times set to soar as NHS trusts suffer from tough cuts by Anna Edwards posted 8/23/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Patient waiting times may increase as a growing number of hospitals face financial difficulties, a report warned today.

NHS foundation trusts, a marker of excellence in the NHS, are facing the challenge of improving quality of care while being forced to make cuts.

Trusts have told the regulator Monitor they are coming under ‘increasing pressure’ to meet accident and emergency waiting times and referral to treatment targets.

Under Labour, hospitals were told patients should be have to wait no longer than four hours to be treated in A&E, and should be given hospital treatment within 18 weeks if they are referred there by a doctor.

But struggling hospitals warn these targets may not be met as they face tough financial difficulties…

‘Particular challenges come from the need to improve the quality of care while delivering considerable savings each year.

‘Foundation trusts are planning to do this without planning to treat fewer patients or reduce the level and quality of care they provide…

‘NHS leaders know the real challenge is to tackle a flat budget while managing the increased costs of treating an ageing population, advanced technology and the growing rates of lifestyle diseases such as obesity.

An aging population and a flat budget?  There’s a little more to that than just a flat budget.  And it has to do with that aging population.  The growth rate of retirees (large consumers of health care) is greater than the growth rate of new taxpayers (people entering the workforce to pay taxes that pay for the retirees).  So available funding of the NHS is falling.  It’s not flat.  Funding is falling while demand for health care services is rising.  And it will continue to rise until the baby boomers die out.  And the pyramid re-inverts itself to where there are more people entering the workforce than are leaving the workforce.

This is why waiting times are growing.  More patients with less funding mean fewer doctors and nurses.  And fewer medicines, medical devices, surgeries and treatments.  Which means people wait longer.  Or are simply denied treatment.  Thanks to a system of rationing.

If everyone provided for themselves through a policy of being responsible this would not happen.  If they didn’t tax the people so excessively to support a welfare state they would have more money to spend on themselves.  To pay for routine doctor’s bills.  And to buy an insurance policy for the unexpected and catastrophic medical expense.  It would work.  Everyone paying a little bit on insurance to pay for the few with unexpected and catastrophic medical expenses.  Because that’s exactly how taxpayer funded health care is supposed to work.  The only problem is that the taxpayer funded variety includes everything.  Even those routine doctor bills.  Requiring excessive taxation.  And when the economy slows down, or a population ages, you simply can’t pay for everything any longer.

And so it will be with Obamacare.  Where policies have to cover everything.  And everyone will have to pay a little bit to cover everything.  Even birth control.  Only that little bit will become a lot.  Because it IS paying for everything.  And all of this with an aging population.  And a much larger population than Britain.  About five times the population.  And about five times the patients there will be in Obamacare.  Making the waiting times and rationing look mild in the NHS by comparison.

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Britain’s Aging Population shrinks the Tax Base and forces Nurses to Care for up to 15 Patients

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 5th, 2012

Week in Review

The National Health Service (NHS) of Britain is one of the best national health care system in the world.  But even it can’t withstand the effects of an aging population (see Nurses look after 15 patients at a time by Laura Donnelly posted 8/5/2012 on The Telegraph).

The findings show a sharp rise in their workload to levels which patients’ groups said compromised safety and left little time for compassion.

It follows growing public concern that hospital patients, especially the elderly, are being denied basic dignity and left thirsty and hungry.

A public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal – where hundreds died amid “appalling” failings in care – is preparing to recommend changes to improve the quality of nursing…

The NHS has never set rules on nurse number, but in parts of the US and Australia, mandatory levels have been imposed – typically at around six patients per nurse…

Among the findings of the research were:

* On average, nurses were allocated 11 patients at night and eight by day;

* At some trusts, nurses were asked to care for 15 patients at night..;

The statistics disclose a sharp increase in nurses’ workloads. Five years ago, they were allocated an average of seven patients on day shifts and nine at night, previous research shows…

Although the health service has been given increases in its budget, just above inflation, it has been told to make £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015 so services can meet the needs of an ageing population.

The Coalition had pledged to protect frontline jobs from any cuts. Last month, after official figures showed the number of nurses has fallen by 4,500 in two years, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, conceded that the number of posts has fallen. He said decisions were taken by trust boards, not the Government…

The research, led by the National Nursing Research Unit at Kings College London, found that older patients received the least care and attention. More than three-quarters [76 %] of nurses polled by researchers said there were not enough staff to get the work done.

Anne Milton, health minister, said the NHS had 10,000 more nurses than it did five years ago, and that the review of nursing had been asked to find ways to free up staff so they could spend as much time as possible with patients.

This is what you get with an aging population.  And a falling tax base that aging population gives you. More patients.  Fewer nurses.  Rationing of services.  And poorer quality.  Or, in other words, welcome to Obamacare.

The NHS is one of the finest national health care systems in the world.  It’s not the fault of the people in the NHS.  It’s the fault of those who set up the NHS.  Who assumed a growing population growth rate would continue to grow.  But that was before the Sixties.  When the world changed.  Women were no longer getting married, staying home and raising a large family.  Birth control and abortion changed that.  And a more libertine sexual attitude.   The women of the Sixties and the Seventies slammed the brakes on baby making.  Decimating the ranks of future taxpayers.  Turning a young population into an aging population.  Where more people left the workforce than entered it.  Who went on to overwhelm the health care system just as funding for it began to fall.  Which brings us to today.  Where they ask nurses to care for up to 15 patients.

The UK is no different than the US.  Except having only one fifth the population.  An aging population will do to Obamacare what it’s doing to the NHS.  Even making it worse.  As American nurses currently can care for no more than 6 patients.  Pretty much what it was in the NHS only 5 years ago.  So in 5 years there will be reports like this about Obamacare.  Which will quickly suffer the problems it took the NHS decades to suffer.  As the Americans will be starting with an aging population that will only age more in the next 2-3 decades.

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Budget Deficits in the NHS force Mental Health Patients to Wait up to 3 Months to see a Specialist

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 28th, 2012

Week in Review

Great Britain kicked off the 2012 Olympic Games.  And the opening ceremonies took us through their venerated history.  And their music.  For Britain gave us more than agriculture advances, representative government, capitalism and the Industrial Revolution.  They gave us Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie and the Beatles.  To name a few.  And what a few they are.

The institutions of Britain helped shape the world.  And brought peace to the world.  Pax Britannica (1815–1914).  Where the Royal Navy suppressed piracy on the high seas.  Ended the slave trade.  And brought peace to the world by facilitating free trade.  The British Empire grew into the greatest Empire since the Roman Empire.  The empire that founded Britain’s capital city on the Thames River in AD 43.  Londinium.  Host of the 2012 Olympic Games.  Yes, that’s right.  Britain dates back to the Roman Empire.  And was once part of the Roman Empire.  Right up to Hadrian’s Wall.  Built across northern England.  Marking the northern border of the Roman Empire in Britain.

So the Brits have much to be proud about.  And it showed in the opening ceremonies.  Included a salute to their National Health Service (NHS).  Which the British are especially proud of.  And rightly so.  For it may be the finest national health system in the world.  But it’s a different Britain today.  An aging Britain.  And as the population ages it is stretching the NHS thin (see NHS ‘Is Failing’ Mental Health Patients by Thomas Moore posted 7/24/2012 on Sky News).

The NHS is still failing people with mental health problems, despite a Government strategy launched more than a year ago, charities have warned.

They say patients in some areas are waiting at least three months for specialist counselling. Some end up going private because they need more urgent care…

But mental health services have long been seen as an easy cut to make when money is tight. Implementation of the Government strategy stalled while the NHS and social care was reorganised.

Waiting three months?  Why the long wait-time?  Because the NHS is running chronic deficits.  Because of that aging population.  Which makes any social program that transfers the cost of one generation to a future generation impossible to sustain.  Because the group of retirees is growing at a greater rate than the rate new workers are entering the work force to pay for that retired generation.  Which means higher tax rates on the younger generations.  Rationing of health services.  And, of course, longer wait-times.

Obamacare is starting out on the upside of the retiree curve.  So they are entering the world of national health care as an aging population is already pushing up health care costs.  And will only see those costs rise exponentially as the baby boom generation begins to retire en masse.  At which point people in Britain waiting three months for treatment will say, “It could be worse.  We could be in America.”  Why?  Because with five times the population of Great Britain the US will rewrite the book on service rationing and wait-times.  As Americans see the quality of their health care plummet.  Along with the quality of their life.  For the Americans already have trillion dollar deficits without the cost of Obamacare factored in.  The Americans will add so much debt that their credit rating will fall again.  Which will raise their borrowing costs.  Forcing them to borrow money just to pay the interest on the debt.  Until eventually the Americans will go through what Greece is going through.  Only on a grander scale.

The proponents of Obamacare like to point out that America is the only ‘rich’ country that doesn’t have a national health care system.  Well, we may soon have one as Obamacare goes into full effect.  So we may finally have a national health care system.  But we won’t be rich anymore.  Which will be rather ironic.

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