I think criticism of my minimalist link to a Brit who died because the National Health Service refused him a costly, experimental drug is legit. I should explain what I was trying to convey with less Instapundit-style passive aggression. I guess what I'm saying is that the reality of healthcare in a world where technology is making the whole concept of health a relative and constantly shifting term is that there will always be limits. This will be the case whatever system we're in. The cost of some new treatments, or procedures, or drugs will always exceed the capacity to pay for them for everyone who needs them. Someone will die or suffer because of this. It's relative, of course. A few decades ago, there would have been fewer agonizing choices because we didn't have such an amazing array of options. But it stings nonetheless.

The market enforces these limits by its usual brutal mechanism - price. A socialized system enforces it by its only real option - rationing.

For the patient unable to afford or get a critical treatment, it amounts to the same thing. The question is whether this unavoidable issue should be a function of politics or economics, whether government should make these calls or private entities, or whether some mix of the two works best. My hope in the post was to debunk the fatuous idea parlayed by Michael Moore that the only thing that stands between Americans and treatments for anything for free is the public-private mix we have in America. That's untrue. My aim in pointing to a British example is to suggest that politicizing this process - having debates in Congress over who deserves what treatment and which politician is responsible for de facto murdering which patient by their votes - is a very ugly and divisive matter. It begins a process whereby government becomes once again our guardian and protector, and initiates greater and greater dependence on its largess and wisdom. Before we go down this path, it behooves us to observe those who are already on it.

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