Monday, May 3, 2010

govt health care in action

A British and an American example from News of the Weird...

Britain's National Health Service in Warwickshire recently assigned Mavis Eldridge to receive care at the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham for the age-related macular degeneration she is suffering in her left eye. The decision was puzzling to Eldridge and her doctors because her right eye is already being treated for the same disorder at University Hospital in Coventry, 20 miles away. University officials said they were booked up. [BBC News, 3-1-10]

Paula Oertel, on Medicare, has a brain tumor that had miraculously been in remission for nine years thanks to a type of interferon approved for multiple sclerosis but not for cancer. Medicare had been paying about $100,000 a year for the drug, but when Oertel relocated from one county in Wisconsin to another, 30 miles away, it triggered an automatic, full-scale review of her records, at which point officials realized that her drug was unauthorized and stopped paying. According to a March Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, her doctors scrambled to find a drug on the "approved" list, but discovered neither a less expensive one nor one nearly as effective, and Oertel's tumor has returned. [ABC News-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3-21-10]


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