Human Exceptionalism

The UK Sinks Deeper Into Health Care Rationing

The British National Health Service is rationing health care. Of this, there can no longer be substantial doubt. And it has been supported by the British Lords, the equivalent to our Supreme Court.

The case in question involves a woman who has a type of breast cancer that is susceptible to treatment by a drug called Herceptin. The drug is expensive and the patient, Ann Marie Rogers, was denied access to it by the NHS—not because of efficacy concerns, but apparently based on cost. (Only late stage breast cancer patients can have the drug paid for by the NHS even though it also shows great promise in early disease.)

Now consider the situation if the UK legalizes assisted suicide, as it may do. Women like Ms. Rogers could be denied potentially life saving—or extending—treatments. But if they became terminal as a result and turned in despair to assisted suicide should it become legal, the NHS would by more than happy to pay for the lethal drugs. After all, they would cost less than 100 Pounds, meaning there is no chance that assisted suicide would ever be rationed. (This is precisely what can happen in Oregon which rations some Medicaid treatments, but never assisted suicide.)

So, we continue to see the cost of utilitarian medicine. People denied necessary care to help them live, but potentially offered easy access to poison dispensed by doctors to make them die. Some compassion.

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