Human Exceptionalism

NHS Meltdown: Rare Cancer Patients Refused Life-Prolonging Chemotherapy

We need to pay attention: In the UK, a woman with a rare cancer has been refused coverage for chemo that would extend her life. From the story:

A dying mother last night became the human face of an election battle over the NHS. Nikki Phelps, 37, who has a rare glandular cancer, has been refused the only drug that could prolong her life. Despite pleas from her consultant, her local NHS trust says it will not meet the £100-a-day cost.

Labour ministers promised more than a year ago to give sufferers of rare cancers easier access to life-extending drugs. But the rationing body NICE has since refused to approve ten such drugs. Experts say the rulings cut short up to 20,000 lives.

This could mean government bureaucrats and bioethicists interfering with the treatment decisions of patients and doctors:

Last night Mrs Phelps pleaded with the NHS to fund the drug Sutent, which she says will let her see her twins grow up. She said: ‘I can’t understand what the NHS is doing – where is the logic in investing in my treatment and then pulling the plug on me like this? ‘My consultant is an expert in the field, and he knows what’s best for me. Yet someone else is making a decision about what drugs I can and cannot take.’

Say what you will about HMOs, they would never be allowed to get away with this. Why? Because now, regulators, government officials, and the lawyers are on the patient’s side for obtaining efficacious treatments, even if costly. But once the government is in control dictating what will and will not be covered, that role will reverse and we will see cases like this here–a problem also happening in Canada, as well as in Oregon, where Medicaid is rationed.

It’s still not too late for us: Obamacare–Repeal. Reform. Replace.

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