Annals of Government Medicine

In his press conference the other day, President Obama spoke disapprovingly of the government intruding between a woman and her doctor. This was trademark Obama hypocrisy, since under Obamacare, the government will be involved in virtually every health care decision, with the possible exception of abortion. If that counts as health care. Fortunately (for us, not them) the British system serves as a warning about the realities of government medicine.

Here is the latest: a National Health Service rationing panel refused to pay for surgery that was needed by Rebecca Beattie, 25, to repair her face after it was smashed by an abusive ex-husband. Her breathing is impaired, and her need for the surgery seemed indisputable. Yet the rationing panel turned her down four times. At the same time, the panel approved breast augmentation surgery for a would-be stripper named Josie Cunningham. The Sun expressed outrage in its inimitable style:

A BATTERED mum last night told of her outrage after the NHS refused to rebuild her shattered nose — as wannabe model Josie Cunningham flaunted her taxpayer-funded boobs.

Rebecca Beattie, 25, whose nose was crushed by her brutal ex, was told her £5,500 op was “not essential” and she must pay for it herself.
But Josie, 22, got a £4,800 breast enhancement at public expense after tearfully telling her GP how having small boobs damaged her confidence.

Here are Ms. Beattie and Ms. Cunningham:

Yes, that tape does say "NHS"

The story may seem bizarre, but this is what happens when every medical decision is a political decision. Why did Josie’s augmentation surgery get approved? Who knows? Maybe she has political influence; maybe she knows someone on the rationing panel; maybe she paid a bribe; maybe someone on the rationing panel just likes strippers with big chests.

But the Sun didn’t only report. It campaigned, urging its readers to weigh in on behalf of Ms. Beattie. Today the paper headlined: The Sun forces NHS rethink on Rebecca nose op decision.

Following our story Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt looked into the case yesterday and was told a rethink was under way at GP-led Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mr Hunt said: “I’m pleased GPs have decided to reconsider Rebecca’s case.”

Rebecca, 25, who struggles to breathe through her nose after the attack, said at home in York: “I’m overwhelmed. I feel like a battle has been won. It’s all thanks to The Sun.”

Why stop here? Maybe the British could have a reality TV show where patients would plead their cases and viewers would vote on who should get surgery.

This is, obviously, no way to run a health care system. But government medicine is, inherently, politicized medicine, and this is the path on which Barack Obama has set us.