Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Don't Get Sick in Great Britain

It’s always fun to remind ourselves of the wit and wisdom of Paul Krugman. The famed economist and New York Times columnist once famously said that all the horror stories about health care in Once-Great Britain were lies. You see, Britain’s National Health Service is the role model for American socialists, real and aspiring.

They believe that the money will never run out, that everyone will have the best health care … if only the government becomes the primary provider. Of course, this is absurd. The truth of the matter is, someone always pays. If the money runs out, the care runs out.

Such is life. Such is economics.

Today the Yale Alumni Magazine offers this sobering assessment of the way the British NHS treats lung cancer. The inescapable conclusion is: if you come down with lung cancer, don’t get treated in Once-Great Britain. If you understand, as noted yesterday, that alternative medicine can facilitate your demise from cancer, so will the NHS.

The Yale magazine reports:

No matter what country you call home, lung cancer is a grim diagnosis—but it’s worse in England. Epidemiologists have known since the early 2000s that English people with lung cancer die sooner than patients in other European countries. But it hasn’t been clear what accounts for these differences, so Yale medicine and epidemiology professor Cary Gross teamed up with British and Italian colleagues to take a closer look. They examined American and British databases of elders who had had non-small cell lung cancer in a recent four-year period.

No matter how you look at the problem, from the perspective of diagnosis or treatment, things are worse in Once-Great Britain:

At every step, they found, English patients’ lung cancers get less attention than US patients’ do. They are diagnosed later. Cases are less often confirmed via biopsy or categorized into a stage. British patients get less chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery than their American counterparts. One-year survival in the UK is 29 percent; here, it’s 40 percent.

That’s a significant survival differential. Your odds of surviving drop significantly if you receive socialized medical care:

The differences are encapsulated in a ratio: for every 1,000 elderly English lung-cancer patients, 246 survive to the two-year mark, compared with 344 in the United States—98 more deaths. (The results appeared online in Journal of Thoracic Oncology.) The study wasn’t designed to uncover the reasons behind these disparities, but the researchers have some guesses. Coauthor Mick Peake of University College London wrote in an e-mail that, in the United States, “culturally people are more likely to demand or accept a radical treatment whereas in the UK many older people take a more fatalistic view.”

I like that last touch. The British, what with their stiff upper lips, have adapted to the situation. If they get lung cancer they know that their odds of surviving are slim, so they adapt to the system and become fatalistic. It’s not quite the same as death panels, but it’s self-selected palliative care. Apparently, it’s all the Brits can afford.


trigger warning said...


"Hip and knee patients are increasingly being denied operations on the NHS, new figures reveal as health bosses admit 'the money has run out' [...] The restrictions have been condemned by the medical community..."
--- The Telegraph (6/18/18)

Maggie Thatcher, call your office. :-D

Anonymous said...

The sad part of this is that much of this applies to VA hospitals. Veterans have put their lives on the line for this country and they get treated this way as a matter of course. Don't get sick or injured as a veteran in the United States.
Hopefully some of the changes will improve the VA, but I suspect that with the passage of time politicians will write off the "Cannon Fodder," as I have heard military people called, especially by the leftist and/or the democrat party.
Experience gained from 50 plus years of dealing with the military/government has taught me to be very skeptical of government healthcare because it always winds up forgetting who they are suppose to serve vice thinking of them as a cost better not expended. Much better to expend it for "Planned Parenthood." I have always wondered why it is called "Planned Parenthood?" If one has actually planned their parenthood they would not need their services.
If the government puts off care long enough the patient dies and problem solved. In the past it has been much like the "Roach Motel" except it is Veterans who walk in and not come out.
Thank GOD for the many people who actually care for the men and women who serve.

Sam L. said...

Ah, Paullie "The Beard" Krugman. Usually has opposing opinions on things, but have never heard or seen one dissing the NHS.

Sam L. said...

I have heard a few good things said about VA care, but have never been to a VA hospital myself.

Anonymous said...

Sam L. said...

Let us not forget the child who was denied treatment by the NHS, and would NOT ALLOW his parents to take him to the US for treatment. That was just a few months ago.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

For whatever reason, I cannot click on Anonymous @12:35’s link, but if it is as I imagine, it’s another epitaph on the greatest reasons to have nationalized healthcare: equality and mercy. You get neither. It’s a rationing system based in values, and obesity and smoking don’t fit. Sorry, asshole. Buh-bye. We’d offer you a quicker ticket to eternity if we believed in that sort of thing... but we don’t. Buh-bye. And we can’t say “Godspeed” or “you’re on your way to a better place” because we can’t prove God or whether you are going to a better place. Sorry. It’s policy. Brought to you by the people who think the “Emotional Quotient” is important. Yeah... not so much.

Anonymous said...

Sam L.

Because of some of the things I have seen in VA Hospitals I have not used them though they are available. I will never forgive government run healthcare for the damage they did to my oldest daughter by denying needed surgery. From there it only got worse. Needless to say I am not a great fan of government healthcare.