Spending others' money

Spending others' money

July 7th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

What happens when "resources are spread too thinly" in a government-run health system?

Following a National Health Service (NHS) audit, England's government-run single-payer health care system, three of ten children's health institutions were told to stop performing heart surgeries.

SkyNews reports that Royal Brompton in Chelsea, Leeds General Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester will no longer be allowed to perform heart surgeries and procedures following a "national review aimed at streamlining pediatric congenital cardiac surgery services." The NHS "review recommended that surgery be concentrated in a few specialist centres" according to the news agency.

Here are a few responses to the government decision to close these pediatric surgery programs:

• Bob Bell, CEO of Royal Brompton & Harefield, the largest heart and lung center in the United Kingdom, speaking to his board said, "One thing is certain, I will not be asking them for the mandate to manage the destruction of a highly valued and respected children's unit."

• Mile Collier, Chairman of Leeds Teaching Hospital said, "This result flies in the face of logical health care planning and plain common sense" noting the disregard for the 600,000 citizens served.

• Charity director Sharon Cheng of the Children's Heart Surgery Fund expressed frustration in noting her organization's plan to appeal the decision, "Clinical logic has not been taken into consideration. They have ignored co-location. They have ignored patient choice."

This announcement, made on July 4 in London, was followed the next day by the British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond declaring the planned reduction of 17 major units that involve over 20,000 soldiers "under the government's austerity drive," which resulted, in part, in response to the expense of Great Britain's costly state healthcare scheme.

On this side of the Pond, England provides a stark look into the future. One day soon, as a result of Obamacare and federal overspending, America will be forced to make similar decisions. One city's hospital will stay open, while another's closes. One child will receive life-saving surgery, while another won't. National security needs will be compromised in order to fund clinics.

When this grave day comes to our shore, it will be easy to condemn politicians. But voters who supported candidates who shower them with promises of expensive programs and unlimited benefits will deserve their share of the blame, too.