Health Care Rationing is N.I.C.E.

One Eternal Day assembles material from a number of sources on how nationalized health care can lead to rationing which can lead to passive euthanasia. The whole post is worth reading, but I call your attention to what is already happening in England:

From Wesley J. Smith’s blog, Secondhand Smoke, a series of posts describing how rationing actually works in a country that has nationalized health care.

In the UK, utilitarian bioethicists control who gets–and who is denied–treatment via the Orwellian named organization NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). NICE explicitly uses a quality of life judgment (QALY–quality adjusted life year) to determine which patients are worth treating. It has now denied coverage for anti-dementia medications to mild Alzheimer’s sufferers. From the abstract of the story in the British Medical Journal:

The hopes of people with mild Alzheimer’s disease have been dashed again by the agency that appraises treatments for use by the NHS in England and Wales, which has reaffirmed its original decision to deny them treatment with dementia drugs. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued amended guidance but still asserts that the drugs would not be cost effective for the mild stages of the disease.

The acronym of the board “N.I.C.E.” is described as Orwellian, which it is. But it is also the name of an organization in another dystopian novel that renders it even more scary. Before following the link, who can name it? And what would that connection add to the discussion?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bonnie Foxx

    NICE – From Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”! How ironic that this organization is also in England.

  • Bonnie Foxx

    NICE – From Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”! How ironic that this organization is also in England.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    That acronymn is a little too erie to be real. In some ways, with the financial constraints of a national health care system, what is there to do? It’s the logical conclusion. The scary logical conclusion.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    That acronymn is a little too erie to be real. In some ways, with the financial constraints of a national health care system, what is there to do? It’s the logical conclusion. The scary logical conclusion.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Everybody should read THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH. It’s kind of slow going in the first half, but stay with it. There’s a big payoff.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Everybody should read THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH. It’s kind of slow going in the first half, but stay with it. There’s a big payoff.

  • Jordan B

    Wow, Lewis has done it again. . . Although, most of the time his predictions aren’t quite that specific . . . Creepy . . .

  • Jordan B

    Wow, Lewis has done it again. . . Although, most of the time his predictions aren’t quite that specific . . . Creepy . . .

  • Dan Kempin

    The premise for this kind of decision making has already been accepted in American medicine. Decisions are already made on this basis, albeit freely and (in general) emotionally. Just wait until it becomes codified in beauracracy and people no longer have the freedom to reject the conclusion.

  • Dan Kempin

    The premise for this kind of decision making has already been accepted in American medicine. Decisions are already made on this basis, albeit freely and (in general) emotionally. Just wait until it becomes codified in beauracracy and people no longer have the freedom to reject the conclusion.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Not as much of an Orwellianism as one would think. The etamology of “nice” can be derived two ways; Latin “nescius” or “silly,” or “non scientia” or “not thinking.” If you listen to how we use the word, you’ll see that it’s not as far as we’d ordinarily assume from its etamology.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Not as much of an Orwellianism as one would think. The etamology of “nice” can be derived two ways; Latin “nescius” or “silly,” or “non scientia” or “not thinking.” If you listen to how we use the word, you’ll see that it’s not as far as we’d ordinarily assume from its etamology.

  • CRB

    Bike Bubba,

    Can’t help but wonder what implications that may have for those folks up in “Minnesota Nice,” especially theologically!

  • CRB

    Bike Bubba,

    Can’t help but wonder what implications that may have for those folks up in “Minnesota Nice,” especially theologically!

  • Rev. Bob

    I am actually reading That Hideous Strength for the first time right now! This literally sent shivers down my spine…I knew Lewis had a somewhat prophetic voice, but this is downright eerie!

  • Rev. Bob

    I am actually reading That Hideous Strength for the first time right now! This literally sent shivers down my spine…I knew Lewis had a somewhat prophetic voice, but this is downright eerie!

  • DonS

    My dad passed away from a form of dementia. I am amazed that the so-called N.I.C.E. would actually deny dementia drugs to those with mild Alzheimer’s, if this report is true. These drugs (such as Aricept and Exelon) do not slow the progression of the disease, but they effectively compensate for the loss of brain synapses for a period of 1-3 years, permitting the disease victim a relatively normal life for that period of time. My dad was able to live at home and to live a relatively normal life until sufficient synapses had been destroyed so that the drug was no longer effective. Absent that drug treatment, which is not that expensive, relatively speaking, we would have lost him, cognitively, two years sooner, and he would have been forced into assisted living two years sooner, at a cost at least five times greater than the cost of the drugs. The cost to the health care system would have been greater, not lower, because the drugs do not extend life, just improve its quality for a period of time.

    Why would anyone push for a single-payer system? It is nuts!

  • DonS

    My dad passed away from a form of dementia. I am amazed that the so-called N.I.C.E. would actually deny dementia drugs to those with mild Alzheimer’s, if this report is true. These drugs (such as Aricept and Exelon) do not slow the progression of the disease, but they effectively compensate for the loss of brain synapses for a period of 1-3 years, permitting the disease victim a relatively normal life for that period of time. My dad was able to live at home and to live a relatively normal life until sufficient synapses had been destroyed so that the drug was no longer effective. Absent that drug treatment, which is not that expensive, relatively speaking, we would have lost him, cognitively, two years sooner, and he would have been forced into assisted living two years sooner, at a cost at least five times greater than the cost of the drugs. The cost to the health care system would have been greater, not lower, because the drugs do not extend life, just improve its quality for a period of time.

    Why would anyone push for a single-payer system? It is nuts!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Well played, CRB. If you want to learn about it, talk to someone with a “Wellstone!” bumper sticker. :^)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Well played, CRB. If you want to learn about it, talk to someone with a “Wellstone!” bumper sticker. :^)

  • http://joeldueck.com Joel Dueck

    I recognized NICE right away also – I even thought this post was a joke at first! Yikes.

    Here are my impressions of That Hideous Strength – I would be interested on your comments.

    Also interesting that the acronym is strangely appropriate given the original and changing definition of the word ‘nice.’

  • http://joeldueck.com Joel Dueck

    I recognized NICE right away also – I even thought this post was a joke at first! Yikes.

    Here are my impressions of That Hideous Strength – I would be interested on your comments.

    Also interesting that the acronym is strangely appropriate given the original and changing definition of the word ‘nice.’


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