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NHS dragged into US health debate


The NHS has been dragged into the debate US politicians are having about President Obama’s healthcare reform proposals.

Allegations that the NHS denies patients life-saving treatments because of age or cost are inflaming debate on proposed health-care reform in the US.

Opponents of President Obama’s attempts to extend free treatment claim that they include ‘death panels’ based on a system allegedly used in Britain.

They have aired TV advertisements detailing claims apparently from UK patients that they were deprived of treatment under the NHS. This despite rigorous denials.

Says a spokeswoman for the Department of Health: ‘This information is untrue. The NHS in England provides health services on the basis of clinical need, irrespective of age or ability to pay.

‘The NHS constitution enshrines these patients’ rights and places a duty on the NHS to promote equality through the services it provides.’

Central to the issue is the fact that because 50 million US citizens have no medical insurance. The president is trying to force through reforms that will extend state cover.


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Readers' comments (3)

  • The Americans are obviously basing their information on the NICE Group, who perhaps from an outsiders point of view do look to ration and deny healthcare based on cost effectiveness and efficacy. In America if you can afford it you can have it regardless of whether it is beneficial or not.

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  • I am really saddened by the misinformation and lies being generated by the debate across the pond. Particularly around the spurious claims made about care for older people. I am an Older Persons nurse, and dispute absulutely the idea that care is denied to people based on age. The idea of death panels is outrageous, and libelous! I am not so rosy eyed as to cliam the NHS is perfect, and we see ageism everywhere in society... the NHS is commited to stamping that out.

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  • I have extensive icu experience in both the U.K and U.S systems and can say without any doubt the media are talking absolute nonsense. Physicians are handcuffed constantly in the U.S by the threat of litigation with patients being kept alive by family members just for the social security cheque. Once again fear and complete ignorance prevail.

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