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Dr. Taylor Dickinson's articles and essays discussing his ideas on tax-preserved Universal healthcare...

Great Britain: Equality Without Care

Posted: Wed, Mar 5, 2008

By Taylor Dickinson

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A recent article in the New York Times, Those Who Pay for Private Care Are Testing Britain’s Public Health System by Sarah Lyall, Feb. 21, 2008, demonstrates how a socialized medical system disintegrates over time. This 60 year old National Health Service (N.H.S.) does not pay for many cancer drugs which are considered to be state of the art in the USA.

Because of limited funding and a rigid concept of equality, poor patients are unable to receive these drugs in a timely fashion, if at all. More affluent, or more desperate, patients have been able to purchase these drugs independently through private medical practices. But it now becomes apparent that the N.H.S. is forcing such patients to pay for all aspects of their care rather than just chemotherapy if they elect to go outside the system. This policy divests these individuals of their equality. Jack Benny, a famous deceased comedian used a line, “your money or your life”. It appears that in the N.H.S. this now becomes “your equality or your life”.

It is a characteristic of government controlled socialized health systems to equate the concept of equality for its people with the budget they are prepared to pay for healthcare rather than to sustain the concept of quality medicine for everyone.

Medical care is about striving to provide the best possible outcome for every patient. It is a hollow victory if universal care only results in the availability of the minimum affordable care for the sake of a population’s equality. Some social experiments will ultimately fail. The rigid application of a socialist view of equality to medicine is one of these. Equality of access is meaningless if it does not lead to quality care. Any program of universal care must require that all citizens have access to all accepted modalities of care. This is a high and seemingly expensive standard, but to accept anything less is to cheat our humanity.

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