I’m not sure of the veracity of the details in this story about a premature baby not being given medical treatment in Great Britain because of government-used guidelines. If it is true, it doesn’t represent a good image for single-payer, government health-care systems. Here is another report on the incident. Particularly disturbing is that, in contrast to the baby in the story who was born after 21 weeks and five days, another baby was born in the United States at a similar stage in pregnancy but under the 22-week limit set in Britain, and she was treated and survived.
Rationing and life-and-death decisions made by government advisory boards are a very real problem in countries like Britain that rely on a universal, single-payer health-care system. While single-payer is not a proposed part of reform plans in the U.S., many proponents of the proposed public (read: government) option have voiced their view that it would be an incremental step toward single-payer. And a component of the public plan/option, itself, would include a similar government-sanctioned advisory board.
The difference in a private insurance company denying to pay for such treatment, where the patient can choose to pay for it themself, and government saying no is night and day. This is just something to keep in mind when pondering the unintended consequences of “reform” in this country. Some may refer to such musings as “scare tactics” or “hyperbole,” but recognizing the consequences of such health-care models in other countries is a vitally important component in better understanding what may happen if our country adopts similar “reforms.”