Want a new reason to fear Obamacare?
You may be aware that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Libyan national convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, finally expired a few days ago, some three years after he was released from a Scottish prison on the grounds that he only had three months to live.
Such vast incompetence, we all thought. Not so fast. Turns out his doctors may have made a rational prognosis based on the presumption that he would be treated under Britain’s national health care system.
Of course, after being released, he went right to Libya. Good move.
Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist who examined Megrahi shortly before his release, explains that predicting how long a patient with end-stage prostate cancer has to live is “a value judgment of probability,” not an exact science. But Dr. Sikora also writes that his initial three-month prognosis was “based on his treatment as an NHS patient in Glasgow at the time, when not even standard docetaxel chemotherapy was offered.” By contrast, “Mr. Megrahi almost certainly had excellent care in Tripoli.”
Consider “standard docetaxel chemotherapy.” As early as 2003, a Cancer Weekly report described docetaxel, alone or in combination with other drugs, as “the most widely used chemotherapy agent for prostate cancer in the United States.”
In 2005, the Scottish Medicines Consortium—the rationing body that advises which treatments should be made available through the Scottish NHS—acknowledged that the drug (widely known as Taxotere) improved median survival-rates, pain control and quality of life for prostate cancer patients. Even so, the consortium concluded that “the cost effectiveness of docetaxel . . . has not been demonstrated.” Only after Britain’s rationing body overrode that decision in 2006 did the drug became available to some Scottish prostate-cancer patients in certain circumstances—though still not to Megrahi.
I suppose one could argue that under the nationalized system Obamacare will soon become, at least terrorist captives will have less of a chance of living to a ripe old age.
Unfortunately, so will the rest of us.