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August 2, 2007

British Bureaucrats Nix Pain Medication

There is one good thing about socialized medicine: it teaches people to stop being pansies and take the pain. For example, the ominously named NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), which controls which drugs will be available under Britain's socialized medicine regime, has decided that rheumatoid arthritis patients don't need abatacept, even though it has been shown to cause a dramatic improvement in 40% of patients with severe symptoms.

NICE bureaucrats have decreed that abatacept is not cost-effective. After all, issuing bullets for patients to bite on would have a fraction of the cost, freeing up tax money to pay administrative salaries.

In a free country, you get whatever medical care you're willing to pay for. Under socialism, you get what your bureaucratic masters see fit to give you. But at least it's free — meaning that you pay for it whether you use it or not.

orencia_abatacept.jpg
What's possible is what bureaucrats permit.

On a tip from Bill.

Posted by Van Helsing at August 2, 2007 8:32 PM

Comments

They can't issue bullets to bite on - it wouldn't be politically correct. Britain is a safe (snicker) gun free society. Just have to let them bite sticks.

Posted by: Jimbo at August 3, 2007 4:47 AM

Dull sticks only please. We dont want to get trees banned when someone pokes an eye out!!!

Posted by: Hemlock at August 3, 2007 5:41 AM

How about just giving them pillows to stuff their faces into to dull the screams of pain? That way, if one of them accidentally offs himself, the system will save that much more in benefits!

Posted by: Pam at August 3, 2007 5:52 AM

NO PAIN NO GAIN !

Posted by: Anonymous at August 3, 2007 7:55 AM

There is plenty of medicine that is legal in Europe, but the FDA has not approved for use in the US yet. Just like there is medicine, pesticides and food processing the FDA has approved but which are not approved in Europe.

I guess it must suck living under the socialist regime of the FDA! Doctors cant just prescribe any medication they want, it needs to be FDA approved medication! Shocking!

Idiots.

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 3, 2007 8:11 AM

For those who flunked Reading Comprehension 101 (not mentioning any names here), the point was not approval of the drug (which is approved both here and in the UK), but rather whether it was worth paying for.

And that decision was not made by the patient, or a private health insurer (to which the patient could appeal, or replace), but by a government agency (hence the socialist comment), from whose decision the patient has no appeal.

But thanks for playing.

Posted by: Jay Guevara at August 3, 2007 8:56 AM

From the post: "In a free country, you get whatever medical care you're willing to pay for."

Bullshit. If it is not approved by the FDA, you cannot buy it.

"For those who flunked Reading Comprehension 101..."

Like you, Jay?

"Under socialism, you get what your bureaucratic masters see fit to give you."

Wrong. You can still buy any treatment you want to (as long as it is approved). The insurance company just may not pay for some of the choices you make. How is that any different than here?

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 3, 2007 9:59 AM

So in the same breath, you say that its bull*hit that you can buy any health care you want in a capitalist country because its not all approved, then go on to say a socialist system is so great because you can get whatever you want except for whats not approved, then go on to call readers of this site idiots. I love liberal logic. They're the only ones who can say socialism works but cant point out a single success story and say that capitalism doesn't work but won't explain why people flock here instead of socialist countries. You guys are funny.

Posted by: MB at August 3, 2007 10:30 AM

That first 'can' should have been a 'can't'

Posted by: MB at August 3, 2007 10:33 AM

...can't buy any health care you want in a capitalist country because its not all approved..

True or not true?

...then go on to say a socialist system is so great...

Never said that

...because you can get whatever you want except for whats not approved...

True or not true?

And this is what I concluded from those two statements:

"You can still buy any treatment you want to (as long as it is approved). The insurance company just may not pay for some of the choices you make. How is that any different than here?"

How is that different (worse) than here?

"I love liberal logic."

Me too. Because unlike conservative faith-based thinking, it is actually logical.

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 3, 2007 11:29 AM

"liberal logic" - oxymoron.

Posted by: Jimbo at August 3, 2007 11:35 AM

>>Me too. Because unlike conservative faith-based thinking, it is actually logical.

He has to get in a jab at RELIGION while he's here. Got to cover all the bases.

Posted by: KHarn at August 3, 2007 2:56 PM

...because you can get whatever you want except for whats not approved...

True or not true?

Not true. I live in the UK, where we've had socialised healthcare for well over 60 years now, and I can tell you that it is definitely, absolutely not true. Almost every week now I read stories of people being denied life-saving drugs because it's not 'cost effective'. Drugs that are approved and effective are not handed out because they might put a health trust over its yearly budget. Often less effective drugs are used in place of more effective and more recommended drugs simply because the less effective ones are cheaper. If you appeal, you spend months and sometimes years in court, fighting for what is supposed to be your right under the NHS, all the while facing a bureaucracy that refuses to give people what they want or need.

There are no alternatives. You can't go to a different provider and get better service. There is only the Health Service, and you have to be thankful for whatever they give you, even if it means you'll die.

This is socialised medicine. You cannot say that is better than the alternative.

Posted by: Archonix at August 4, 2007 2:46 AM

Yeah, it's great that drugs gets approved in Europe before they get approved in the USA. Take thalidomide, for example... but not if you're pregnant, of course.

(Gawd what an idiot.)

I think he's just mad that the FDA hasn't blessed "medicinal" marijuana.

Posted by: V the K at August 4, 2007 5:44 AM

I shuddered when I read the acronym - NICE - that was chosen by the Brits - maybe the choosers have never read C.S Lewis' book, "That Hideous Strength", in which the N.I.C.E. does it's best to destroy all that's good and plain and honest in merry old England - and very nearly succeeds. Round two?

Posted by: Fred at August 4, 2007 9:19 AM

>>Yeah, it's great that drugs gets approved in Europe before they get approved in the USA. Take thalidomide, for example... but not if you're pregnant, of course.

What point are you trying to make? That the FDA (a GOVERNMENT agency) has never approved drugs that turned out later to be dangerous?

>>(Gawd what an idiot.)

I'm an idiot? Because you put up a strawman argument that you can't even back up? I see that the conservative logic is in full swing here. Try some actual thinking first, before you make a statement.

>>I think he's just mad that the FDA hasn't blessed "medicinal" marijuana.

Why, is it approved by 'socialized medicine'? What point are you trying to make? Oh, you don't actually have a point? Though so.

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 4, 2007 9:38 AM

>>Not true. I live in the UK, where we've had socialised healthcare for well over 60 years now, and I can tell you that it is definitely, absolutely not true. Almost every week now I read stories of people being denied life-saving drugs because it's not 'cost effective'.

You either don't really live in the UK, or you just aren't that smart. Is liposuction covered by the UK insurance? No. Can you get liposuction in the UK? Yes. As long as you pay for it out of your own pocket. EXACTLY THE SAME AS HERE! The drug mentioned above that is supposedly not covered by the UK standard healthcare? Buy it yourself! Or buy some additional coverage if you want.

Are you saying because the NHS should pay for every treatment know to man - including aromatherapy, chanting and applying crystals to your chakras - the system doesn't work? JUST LIKE INSURANCE COMPANIES HERE, the UK limits what treatments it covers.

>>There are no alternatives.

Of course there are. The alternatives, JUST AS THEY ARE HERE, are: a) to pay for it out of your own pocket, or b) to get additional insurance.

>>You can't go to a different provider and get better service.

Wrong, see above. And furthermore, if you have a pre-existing condition and you try to switch providers here, guess what? That condition wont be covered. So your idea, that free-market principles apply to health care insurance, is just ridiculous. Unless you know in advance which treatments you will need, and when you will need them (which no one does - just in case your conservative brains don't understand that), you have to gamble with your health insurance choice. The only safe choice is to take a top of the line insurance (and even that won't cover everything), which is freakishly expensive.

>>There is only the Health Service, and you have to be thankful for whatever they give you, even if it means you'll die.

No. Pay for it yourself or get additional coverage. And how many people have actually died because of denied coverage in the UK? A handful?

If the system here is so great and full of choices as you claim it is, then please explain why 18,000 people in the US die every year due to insurances denying coverage? Why didn't they just use the free market and in the midst of their cancer treatment go out and shop for a better insurance?

Why are people forced to smuggle in cheap(er) drugs from abroad when, according to you, they supposedly could have just gone out and bought themselves good coverage?

You really are all idiots. It is shameful what passes for intelligent thought in the conservative camp these days.

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 4, 2007 9:45 AM

No. Pay for it yourself or get additional coverage.

And end up paying twice. I admit I was a little melodramatic - there are alternative healthcare providers out there - however the fact that you have to keep paying for the NHS whether or not you use it makes me a little bit annoyed. If I use, for example, BUPA, I have to pay their premiums AND continue paying the NHS. This is in no way, shape or form a fair system.

You know what? Right now my taxes are paying to treat approximately 1500 aids patients who were originally brought over here to be nurses.

There are no meaningful estimates of how many people might have died from denied treatments but I can bet that it's a lot more per capita than in the states, and that almost certainly doesn't include people who have died on waiting lists. You think socialised medicine is a panacea for your ills? I live with it and I can tell you that it isn't.

I'm not talking about all that new age shit here. The NHS refuses to pay for proven, effective treatments that could save hundreds of thousands of lives. They refuse to allow the administration of anti-cancer treatments until it's too late for them to be effective. They refuse to pay for drugs that can alleviate the early symptoms of alzheimers. They refuse to pay for treatments that can significantly reduce the effect of MS, ME, other muscular wasting diseases and a plethora of other diseases. They refuse, as I said, to apply effective drugs because of the expense. I know from personal experience that they treat stapholococcus with antibiotics that are contra-indicated because they're effectivity is severely reduced. They use them because they're cheaper, not because they're medically better.

Posted by: Archonix at August 4, 2007 11:16 AM

>>You really are all idiots. It is shameful what passes for intelligent thought in the conservative camp these days.

You’re the one who comes in here with the screen name 'yourallidiots'. Not unexpected from a libtard, ready to slander everyone who remotely disagrees with your authoritative view. How can somebody like you who thinks your smarter than every reader of this blog not understand that people come here for treatment that isn’t available under their native socialist countries? I know you won't admit it but it’s because the system we have now is pretty damn good. My neighbor was complaining about not being able to afford health. We live in a high-rent area and he could easily move down the road where the rent is a little less and save the $100 bucks a month it would cost for him to get on a blue shield plan but he'd rather not. Shut up, stop your complaining and get health care if you want it. If you want somebody else to wipe your ass for you then move to Cuba.

Posted by: MB at August 4, 2007 11:55 AM

>>How can somebody like you who thinks your smarter than every reader of this blog not understand that people come here for treatment that isn’t available under their native socialist countries?

How is that related? No one is questioning the quality of the US care, it is the availability and the cost that is the problem. How can somebody like you, who's trying to show me how stupid I am, not even understood the basic problem with US health care?

>>and save the $100 bucks a month it would cost for him to get on a blue shield plan

I don't know what dreamworld you live in, but 100 bucks doesn't buy you insurance in the US, at least not any insurance that will actually cover you for anything. And if your neighbor has an existing condition (which I assume he does), then he is plum out of luck.

>>I know you won't admit it but it’s because the system we have now is pretty damn good.

As demonstrated by ranking 37th in health care in the world, having 50 million uninsured and 18,000 insurance related deaths a year? Sounds great! Idiot. You haven't even understood what the problem is, yet are willing to defend the conservative talking points to the death (literally). That's sad, just sad.

>>You’re the one who comes in here with the screen name 'yourallidiots'. Not unexpected from a libtard...

Irony obviously means nothing to you conservatives :) How stupid are you people?

>>ready to slander everyone who remotely disagrees with your authoritative view

Complaining about being insulted and slandered on a site dedicated to insulting and slandering the left? The conservative brain hard at work...

>>If you want somebody else to wipe your ass for you then move to Cuba.

What does asswiping or Cuba have to do with the UK healthcare system? Can someone, anyone, make a coherent argument for once?

Posted by: youtrulyareallidiots at August 4, 2007 1:01 PM

It’s obvious that what I say will do nothing here. By the way, the dream world you accuse me living in because I think I can get insured for $100 is known as REALITY!! I just got a quote for my 32 year old body to get covered for $87 a month. (If you do some checking you'll find out) Those 50,00 that you talk about are mostly people like my neighbor who simply choose to not make the sacrifice for health insurance because they feel like somebody else should pay for it. The rest are probably illegal Mexicans, who by the way risked being illegal in America because the socialism and corruption rotting their own country forced them to take the chance of being in Amerikkka illegally. This country is a place where opportunity abounds. My parents are dirt poor and I didn't have money to go to college after HS and so I took advantage of what opportunities I did have and went in the military. I used that experience to get a college education and subsequently, a job with health insurance. The liberal view is that I should have done none of that, sit on my ass and bitch about what people aren't giving me - and when people call me out on that, I should call them stupid like your doing. That’s what the ass wiping comment was all about, grow up and stop acting like a baby.

Posted by: MB at August 4, 2007 2:06 PM

Funny, you completely ignored me. I guess actually living in a socialist 'paradise' discounts me from having an opinion on how crap it is.

Posted by: Archonix at August 4, 2007 2:08 PM

No, it's just that providing a first hand account makes you more difficult to respond to.

Posted by: MB at August 4, 2007 2:54 PM

>>And end up paying twice.

No, end up paying additional for stuff that is not covered. Same as here. Your basic insurance covers you for 80% of what you need. If you insist that the medication listed above is what you want, and the insurance wont cover it, then pay for it.

Your insurance covers you for cancer, right? So if you never get cancer, you think you shouldn't have to pay for those who do? I honestly do not think you know how insurance works.

My suggestion to you: Move to the States and don't get insurance. Then you'll only pay for what you need or want, and not a penny more. And once you've seen your first 150,000 $US hospital bill (let's say for a few rounds of chemo), or 40,000$ for a birth, you might gather an understanding of the severity of the problem over here.

>>There are no meaningful estimates of how many people might have died from denied treatments but I can bet...

You'll forgive if your guesses aren't good enough. Get some hard figures.

>>You think socialised medicine is a panacea for your ills? I live with it and I can tell you that it isn't.

I've lived with it (not in the UK) for 10 years without any supplemental insurance and it has been fine. We gave birth to our first daughter under socialized healthcare, and the experience was wonderful. Healthcare in the US is fine if you have good insurance, or if you are independently rich. Knock on wood, I have good insurance for now. Many, many people don't. They would give their left nut to have the services of the NHS available to them.

>>They use them because they're cheaper, not because they're medically better.

Give me some specific examples. But as a general response, if a drug is marginally better at treating an illness, but costs 10 times more, then yes, there is a cost factor involved. Same with insurance companies here. You are not covered for every procedure, or every medication, or the best lab equipment. Plenty of insurance companies don't cover the 6,000 $ radio cardiogram for example, even though it is far better at detecting early heart issues than a standard stress test. And guess what, your options here are exactly the same as in the UK: don't get the expensive test, pay for it yourself, or get additional insurance.

>>I used that experience to get a college education and subsequently, a job with health insurance....I just got a quote for my 32 year old body to get covered for $87 a month.

If your job gives you health insurance, why are you buying more? Is this supplemental insurance? If not, then please give me the link to $87 insurance, so we can have a joint laugh at what it covers. The $150,000 chemo treatment? Good luck with that, buddy.

Posted by: youareallidiots at August 4, 2007 5:07 PM

One last time here. Of course I'm not buying more insurance, I like the place I've worked to get to. Go to the blue shield website and check it out. I just went and got that quote because you asserted that it's impossible and I was right, it's not. People just have to stop looking for excuses and go get it. I agree it's probably not the best plan but even if you're poor and that’s all you can get, keep in mind that there is no interest charged for medical debt. You can pay over time and the max out of pocket for that cheap plan is $3,500 per year. Not quite as scary as that $150,000 number that I'm sure you simply pulled out of your ass. My point is that it's easy to get insured which is in contrast to the peddlers of the national socialized medicine plan. With a very affordable health plan like that, what do you have to complain about? I think you just don’t want to have to spend your own money and try to put responsibility on someone else, which is the signature liberal stance on everything. Socialism doesn't work very well, never has never will so get over it.

Posted by: MB at August 4, 2007 7:08 PM

Give me some specific examples.

I did, but perhaps it wasn't specific enough. I mentioned stephalococcus, which is a pretty nasty infection. The NHS would treat it by handing out the chepeast, crappest most useless antibiotic on their list for two weeks and then say "if that doesn't work, come back and we'll try again". Only, when a steph infection hits to the point of being noticable you've got about two weeks to live anyway, so "come back in two weeks" isn't going to cut it.

Fortunately for us, when my father found out he was dying from this disease we were in france, where they take these things seriously. France operates a dual system. Basic health insurance is provided by the government for emergency care. Everything else is paid for with private health insurance or out of your pocket, as was our case. There are no state-run hospitals in France, and no national health service policy to fuck things up. I can live with that sort of deal because it doesn't place the state in charge of everything.

Dad is fine by the way. The french doctor took a look at him and prescribed an antibiotic that isn't even available on the NHS - and which the NHS wouldn't have been prescribed even if it was, because it's too expensive. I know, for certain, he'd be dead if we'd been at home when it happened because previous experience with lesser illnesses has proven that the NHS simply doesn't give a rats arse about treating people with what they need. It hands out what the state proclaims is best for them, never mind whether it's useless or not.

We're not talking about something that is marginally better. The NHS uses drugs that are simply obsolete in preference to drugs that are proven and effective because it's cheaper. The STATE decrees what is to be used in every instance.

And now, now we're at the point where people are being denied treatment because they don't fit certain profiles, or because they are taking part in actions that the STATE deems to be politically incorrect. That's what happens when you put healthcare in to the hands of the state.

That detailed enough for you?

Posted by: Archonix at August 5, 2007 4:13 AM