Carol Platt Liebau

When government is put in control of containing health care costs, strange and ugly things can happen.  Look at what's happening to our friends in Great Britain.

The Telegraph reported in 2009 that bureaucrats' eagerness to cut costs means that some Brits -- whose only underlying ailment is old age" -- are being hustled onto the "Pathway," a plan under which all care is withdrawn and patients are simply "made comfortable" (read: left to die).

Now, courtesy of the UK Daily Mail, we learn that sick babies are also being ushered onto the "Pathway".  How's this for a gut-churner?

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. 

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’. 

The LCP [Liverpool Care Pathway] – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers.

 The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions. (emphasis added)

Medical critics of the LCP insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the LCP death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.

This is not how a civilized society behaves -- but it is what happens when government bureaucrats control health care.  Cost trumps all, and "incentives" for doctors and hospitals to cut costs means that the powerful and connected get good care -- and regular people better say their prayers.


Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.