Many refer to the health care system in the UK as a model we could use in improving our own. I learned a bit more about it on my recent visit to London. The UK system does not have a “death panel” that determines who gets what care and when, which usually means not providing expensive organ transplants to older persons. But it does have “NICE,” the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Being an old spin doctor I love the postive spin. The Institute sets standards for health care, including age limits for certain procedures. It does not say to the patient that, “you are too old to get this treatment.” Rather it sets limits based on being too advanced in age to survive the procedure. Thus the “excellence,” it does not want the health services to dispense lethal care.
Meanwhile, it is now clear that President Obama´s health plan will cost us higher taxes. There appears to be no way to squeeze enough out of the present Medicare and Medicaid plans to cover the cost of extending health insurance to all.
Again, I believe the mistake was made in turning the health care initiative into a battle over health insurance. We should have worked at providing lower cost health care for all citizens. My solution, extend Medicaid, which is provided as a Health Management Organization (HMO) service to those with no insurance. As it now stands Medicaid already picks up much of the cost of services provided to people without insurance. This would mean the government could provide a low cost HMO service for all who want it, while those who want more control over their health care can continue with their insurance plans.