Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Notes From the Ice Floe HMO

The British have a solution to their health care crisis--cut off the undeserving sick and send the old off on ice floes the way Eskimos did a century ago.

In a new survey, doctors call for National Health Service treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives, an idea that may appeal to the Bush Administration as a solution to runaway Medicare costs.

One in three British doctors said that "elderly patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long," according to the Telegraph.

As an octogenarian candidate for that Ice Floe HMO, I can report that American insurers have made significant headway in that direction. The doctor and hospital performing my shoulder surgery had to make do with Medicare allowances, since my supplemental insurer deemed that, for a person of age, the need to be pain-free would be an unwarranted luxury.

But all is not lost, even in Britain. Responding to the survey findings, a doctor speaking for the British Medical Association said: "If a patient of 90 needs a hip operation they should get one. Yes, they might peg out any time, but it's not our job to play God."

Tell that to the Republican Congressmen who recently voted once again to sustain President Bush's veto of expanded S-CHIP coverage for poor children.


GiromiDe said...

Health costs will continue to skyrocket as our life spans increase. It's a divine joke.

jfreeland said...

If you do anticipate a "cruise" on the ice flow, let us know so we can set you up with a wind generator, laptop, and blue-tooth so that you can keep posting your blog.