The Wall Street Journal has a report on health care cost controls through rationing in the UK, Of NICE and Men, and the part the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, plays. People with kidney, breast and stomach cancer, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, fertility treatments, back pain, are affected. Survival rates?
The Concord study published in 2008 showed that cancer survival rates in Britain are among the worst in Europe. Five-year survival rates among U.S. cancer patients are also significantly higher than in Europe: 84% vs. 73% for breast cancer, 92% vs. 57% for prostate cancer.
As alarming is the $22,000 limit on spending that would extend a patient’s life by six months:
The NICE board even has a mathematical formula for doing so, based on a “quality adjusted life year.” While the guidelines are complex, NICE currently holds that, except in unusual cases, Britain cannot afford to spend more than about $22,000 to extend a life by six months. Why $22,000? It seems to be arbitrary, calculated mainly based on how much the government wants to spend on health care. That figure has remained fairly constant since NICE was established and doesn’t adjust for either overall or medical inflation.
A day or two in intensive care and the NHS comes by and pulls the plug on you.
How’s that for nice?