Foreshadowing Report: UK Health System Failing Patients

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Posted: Jul 15, 2009 12:20 PM
Following the House Democrats' unveiling yesterday of their $1.5 trillion plan that would make government health care a right for all Americans (and illegal immigrants living here), the Daily Mail coincidentally ran an article today about the long delays in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis patients in the UK. 

A new study by Britain's National Audit Office reports that patients suffering from agonizingly painful rheumatoid arthritis are having to wait an average of nine months to receive treatment. Apparently the fact that UK health guidelines specifically state that no patient should wait for treatment longer than three months following initial symptoms is not enough to speed up the process.  "On average it takes four visits before a patient is referred to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment."

It's also worth noting that the prescription drug Humira is widely available in the U.S. to treat some cases of rheumatoid arthritis.  However, because the drug is more costly than some other, less effective drugs, one commenter on the story says that it is only available to patients in the UK system after other a number of other meds have failed to control the condition.

I highly recommend reading comments on stories like this from countries with health care systems similar to what is being proposed in Congress to see just what we could be getting ourselves into.