Daring to use freedom 1

 Again the Czechs delight us.

Czech artist David Cerny has produced a work depicting his view of the member countries of the ghastly EU which should have all Europe laughing at itself, and the rest of the world laughing with it. Some are laughing, but it has aroused official fury.

Bulgaria is the angriest because it is shown as a Turkish toilet.

Holland is under water with minarets sticking out of it.

Britain is happy because it is left out.  

Read all about it here.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 16, 2009

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Witch-doctors welcome? 0

 The Wall Street Journal has published an article by Deepak Chopra and others declaring that  ‘Alternative’  Medicine is Mainstream

In the account below of the failure of the British National Health Service, Madeleine Westrop writes that the NHS pays for ‘complementary medicine such as homeopathy and reflexology, hands on healing.’

Deepak Chopra wants this to happen in America too.

Who is Deepak Chopra? He’s into ‘self-awareness’; he’s pro-Hamas; he suffers from ‘Bush derangement syndrome’.

Will American patients be forcibly put into the hands of shamans – and shams – like this man?

In an Obama-run America, it’s more than possible, it’s very likely. 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 10, 2009

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Witch-doctors welcome? 1

 The Wall Street Journal has published an article by Deepak Chopra and others declaring that  ‘Alternative’  Medicine is Mainstream

In the account below of the failure of the British National Health Service, Madeleine Westrop writes that the NHS pays for ‘complementary medicine such as homeopathy and reflexology, hands on healing.’

Deepak Chopra wants this to happen in America too.

Who is Deepak Chopra? He’s into ‘self-awareness’; he’s pro-Hamas; he suffers from ‘Bush derangement syndrome’.

Will American patients be forcibly put into the hands of shamans – and shams – like this man?

In an Obama-run America, it’s more than possible, it’s very likely. 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 10, 2009

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Americans should never have to endure anything like the British National Health Service 0

 Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) has been nominated to be the new secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Heritage Foundation has published an article by Robert E Moffit asking Senator Daschle ‘key questions’ and giving the ‘right answers’. The whole thing is worth reading. 

Here is an extract, relevant to the account posted below in 3 installment, Health of the nation by Madeleine Westrop, which provides a horrifying description of a patient’s experience at the hands of the British National Health Service:

Question #4: The British Experience with NICE

On page 127 of your book, you write, "In other countries, national health boards have helped to ensure quality and rein in costs in the face of these challenges. In Great Britain, for example, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which is part of the National Health Service (NHS), is the single entity responsible for providing guidance on the use of new and existing drugs, treatments, and procedures." If that British agency determines that a treatment is cost effective, it must then be available within the NHS, but it also denies reimbursement for treatments, making them practically unavailable for patients. Based on your assessment of the record of NICE, would you like to see similar results for doctors and patients in the United States?

Answer. The right answer is that Americans should never have to endure anything remotely like the centralized, bureaucratic health care decision-making process that characterizes the British National Health Service.

Increasingly, the British media is reporting on the consequences of the role of NICE, and those results are nasty. For example, The Telegraph of London reports that NICE denied access to Velcade, a new drug for the treatment of cancer.Jacky Pickles, a 44-year-old mother with the disease, made a direct plea to Britain’s health secretary for coverage of the medication. Ms. Pickles, working in the British system as a midwife for 25 years, said, "I am going to give them the last years of my life. I’ve got to go to work in a Health Service that won’t support me when I most need it. I have given my life to the NHS, but it is a system that won’t give me something I need to save my life." Britain’s health secretary would not intervene to help Ms. Pickles, and NICE officials refused to comment, noting that while the drug for cancer treatment is "clinically effective" compared to chemotherapy, they deemed it not to be "cost effective." If members of the incoming Administration and the Congress really want such a system, they should thoroughly brief ordinary Americans what it would entail.

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 10, 2009

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For the health of the nation (3) 4

 Continued from below.

Many NHS workers see the NHS as something holy and private medicine as wicked. I do not believe, having watched your elections in the US, you have any idea of the class war going on here.  Yet. 

When, this year, some dying cancer patients bought their own drugs because the Government committee, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Ecellence – “NICE” – would not approve the drugs for the NHS, the patients were then told that, once they had paid for something, they could have none of their care on the NHS and must pay for every blood test and bandage.  It was said that any favours to those who could pay were a fraud on everyone else and all must be equal in the NHS.  Patients “cannot, in one episode of treatment, be treated on the N.H.S. and then allowed, as part of the same episode and the same treatment, to pay money for more drugs,” the Health Secretary (and  Marxist and militant Trades Unionist,) Alan Johnson, told Parliament.“That way lies the end of the founding principles of the N.H.S..”

This is not true. The 1942 Beveridge report, which was the basis for the NHS, said: The state " should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that minimum for himself and his family".  We all know that the bought cancer drugs were available in some areas and not others on the NHS anyway; that NHS patients have always paid towards some treatments.  In fact, the country could not afford the NHS if top up payments were banned. The doctrinaire Health Minister however, did not know this (but as he left school with no qualifications at all, I am not terribly surprised).  What is more, none of the people concerned, who bought their own cancer drugs, was rich but simply ready to sell their homes or use up all their saving in their desperation to get the drug concerned.   

You may be thinking that your system will be different and will embrace private insurance more and a dual system can operate.  Indeed that is what the Obama/Biden plan says. But, I have just pointed out that this was the stated original point of the NHS.  Give the state (and overpaid doctors) power, and they will want more and more control over your lives. 

Back to our nightmare-day.  My husband was trying to get us admitted to the private hospital without the referral; but the private hospital would not do this.  That’s the thing.  The NHS was designed to keep doctors and the state in charge.  There is a protocol between doctors and it has to be observed.  The state controls access to public healthcare, but in a way it also controls thereby access to private healthcare. The Obama/Biden plan seems to say that the state will now be interfering in private insurance arrangements.  If it was just a question of making it more competitive or of taking anti-trust precautions, I would think this fair enough. But the plan is to offer what Obama calls a National Health Insurance Exchange which will oversee the private insurance companies.  It is nuts. Do not do it or you will compromise the part of your system that works.

When my son was eventually seen, in an even dirtier room that was itself a corridor to a staff room with a constant flow of people in and out, we had to have a long chat with the doctor where she made very pleasant conversation and enquiry, little of it relevant to our plight. The NHS trains  our new doctors here in  England: this encourages allegiance to the NHS. This doctor  did not diagnose anything but did want to know all about us – what my son was studying. We also filled out a form which asked us our race and background.  A consultant finally appeared. He wore a suit. He was hard to talk to. He simply looked in my son’s throat, sprayed anaesthetic and stuck a scalpel into a huge ulcer on his tonsils, whereupon an effluvium of blood and puss was collected and it tasted so vile that my son, usually stalwart, said ‘Dear God’ and started to shake.

The consultant, I would say on oath, never washed his hands. He did diagnose Quinsy and he did do something.  But the thing is that everyone I know, at work or socially, knows someone who has had infections of  MRSA or C difficile, contracted in a sic NHS hospital.  My own mother has said she would rather face death than go to an NHS hospital, and nearly proved her point recently, saved by  finding a private hospital that would take her on a referral from a doctor friend.  Generally, death certificates do not always say if the patients are infected so the figures are unreliable.  The MRSA Action Group say that “the number of MRSA bacteraemia’s for 2007/08 is 4438” and there were “55,393 cases of Clostridium difficile”.  “MRSA Action UK … has come to the conclusion that we can no longer believe anything this Government says in respect to Healthcare Infections and that going into hospital is now a lottery for patients.”  Mr Brown the Prime Minister recently ordered a one-off deep clean of all wards. One off? Lister is spinning in his grave.

The consultant seemed a bit cross with us.  He said to us that my son had a life-threatening condition and should be in hospital on IV antibiotics. I think he wanted us to apologise for hanging around in his dirty waiting room all that time. Instead, I said that we wanted a transfer to the private hospital and he said that he would do this but we would still be under his care. I said I didn’t mind about that, but I did want to move. The thing was that the invasive procedure was done and I was desperate to go somewhere clean.

The first thing I noticed at the small Priory hospital was that it was easy and free to park and easy to drop off my son at the door so he could get in from the cold. The next thing I noticed was that there was a lady on the stairwell dusting under the brackets of the banister and another in the corridor dusting the skirting. I said to them with some emotion, “I’m really pleased you are doing that.” Everything was clean and linen was laundered.  A mouth rinse was provided straight away, we were shown to a clean private room with its own bathroom. Nurses and doctors fussed over drips and pain-killers.  My son, as all NHS transferees are, was put in isolation and swabbed for MRSA and C difficile. The nurses wore aprons and gloves and regarded him as a source of infection.  Somehow, they each had the ability to think and act whereas the NHS hospital staff had all been in a kind of professional coma. When I went to the nurses station to ask something, I found three staff members discussing my son and his blood sugar level, instead of their boyfriends or celebrity favourites. When I asked, I was given helpful and polite answers. It wasn’t just that we were paying, it was that the whole culture  and professional focus was utterly different from the NHS.

But, you may cry, not everyone can afford private health insurance. We need a public health service for the poor or the uninsurable. Sure. But be very afraid. We pay three times over for health care in my family.  We have insurance through my husband’s employers, worth about £5,000 for each of us but costing the company a bit less but costing  us tax;  extra civil service insurance (because it is a great deal and we are entitled because of a previous job) costing about £500 a year and on top of this we pay about 11% of our salary (with a further contribution from our employer) for National Insurance. Taken all together, this comes to just under 1/5 of our income.

In effect, we subsidise the poorer people and unemployed people who are ironically known as  “deprived” as if we were taking things away from them.  But I don’t believe it does actually help anyone to make us pay so much.  The sic NHS is just too big and it doesn’t work.  If the public service de-centralised, scaled down and copied the private sector a bit more, it would work better.  Who would pay for the indigent pensioner’s hip?  I just don’t know.  I would like her to get a hip and I feel that people who have paid National Insurance all these years cannot now be defrauded of their dues.  But the sic NHS will have more and more patients in an ageing population and fewer funds to pay for anything.  

Unaware of any constraints,  under this Government the NHS has had not just huge budgets and plans but vaulting ambitions. This particularly applies to screening and preventative “education”. I notice the Obama/Biden plan includes promotion of public health and preventative screenings. Here, in some places the NHS also pays for IVF, counselling, complementary medicine such as homeopathy and reflexology, hands on healing (although you cannot find out how much is spent on this in the sic NHS),  fresh fruit vouchers for low income families, £200 shopping vouchers for drug addicts who keep up treatment (under the guidance of Dawn Primarolo, our “Red Dawn” of the Labour Party – I know this last incentive has been tried in the US too).  Somehow, drug addicts, who cannot be bothered to work, must be given money by people who do work. There is a dependent class in Britain, paid to be idle, living unhappy lives and messing up. The Left only has eyes for them and ambitious unrestrained plans for providing things for them.

The NHS must treat illness not bad behaviour, encourage top up private payments, allow opt outs, forget the ambitious screening, education, IT plans and forget quackery. We must be encouraged and incentivised to help ourselves without the nanny state. A recent study showed that when we were taxed less we gave far more  to charity. Our Mediaeval oldest and best hospitals were all endowed by charities. Something less on the scale of the Chinese army would be more efficient and cost less. After all, there was a considerable and very successful cheaper health insurance option for the poor, before the NHS was dreamt up by our socialist post war Government. 

Sir William Beveridge, author of the famous 1942 report which laid the foundation for the NHS, wanted to fight the five ‘Giant Evils’ of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. But at the QE I believe we met those five Enemies at close quarters despite our funds and best efforts to avoid them. Will you also be meeting Disease and Squalor sometime soon, too? 

Yours sincerely, 

a wicked pro-capitalist,

M Westrop.

PS. My son is fine now, thanks to the excellent treatment he was given in the private hospital.

 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 10, 2009

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For the health of the nation (2) 0

 Continued from below.

The socialist Government here has spent excessively on grandiose building schemes in the last 10 years. Queen Elizabeth Hospital – meant to cost £291 million and £560 million is the official figure now, with the Taxpayers Alliance figure running at £627 million, the extra costs hidden in many disparate small reports. It is half rebuilt in the shape of three bigger-than-enormous tubes on top of a hill.  Everything about them is so huge that the human being is a mere streptococcus next to three giant macaroni. The tubes are entirely empty except for builders. 

In fact everything is huge in the NHS.  It costs about 100 billion pounds a year to run [for a population about one-sixth that of the USA].  I note that your US plan is not just National but indeed Universal. The thing is already bloated in name.  Here, Mr Brown, our Prime Minister, ‘invests’ ever larger funds in it.  It is the third or fifth biggest employer in the world (depending on what source you read) after the Indian railways and the Chinese army. The NHS employs 1.3 million people. Our socialist government says that it was elected because people want it to ‘invest’ in the NHS and the people were prepared to be taxed more to do this. Budgets do indeed go up every year, much being spent on doctors salaries. This is in keeping with the original deal to make doctors join in. Bevan, the Labour Minister for Health in 1948, said he had to ‘stuff their mouths with gold’ to secure the consultants’ support for the NHS. Brown has continued the alliance between the state and the medical profession and doctors can be well paid. But I have doubts about the wisdom of concentrating such power and privilege in any hands. Milton Friedman wrote that any concentration of power was a threat to freedom, even when done for the best of reasons. It would be better for democracy if the doctors were a bit hostile to the establishment and therefore had an incentive to criticise the Government policy on health. 

Anyway, somewhere around this Brave New Building, the QE, are the buildings belonging to the old QE. The new QE is not in use yet but we had to use the new QE’s car park.  After the parking hurdle (£3.30), we slithered past endless excavations and piles of building materials, through ice and snow, and eventually found the main entrance to the old hospital by sneaking round some iron railings, parked cars and bins, into a side alley, tripping across tarmac spotted with chewing gum, past the smoker-bevy at the door and through apologetic glass doors set round a corner within the tiny corner of the alley. Human beings are not important in the scheme and must sneak into hospital. In our fascist-socialist society, the architectural arrangements are bound to make ordinary individuals feel small and displaced. Once in, we walked for miles along dirty lino floors and up five double flights of stairs and eventually found ourselves in E5.

All along the way, the corridors were decorated with very elderly ladies on gurneys and wheelchairs in thin hospital gowns and without their teeth. They were like statues set at intervals to decorate the way, except that one expects regular statues to be Romans, or great men looking up at the horizon as if thinking about what humanity could achieve. Instead, these old ladies were parked, forgotten, and looking only forlornly down.

That brings another point to mind.  The Labour Government loves management-speak and targets.  You go to Emergency hospitals and they clock you in, for example, and then put you in a consulting room as quickly as possible so that, officially, you only waited a short time. Then you usually wait for ages in the consulting room, instead of the waiting room.  You may get the offer of an operation on the day you said you were going on holiday so that, when you turn down the appointment, you are a statistic offered treatment within the target time. The Labour Party introduced the fiendishly complicated ‘Performance Indicator Framework’ and these targets and measurements are universally loathed throughout the country and distort management of treatment. According to our populist papers, patients are often parked for days in corridors.  I note that your Obama/Biden plan requires hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data”.  The devil will be in the detail.

Of course, as you will have already guessed, there were no doctors available at E5 and the nurses room was full of nurses and clerks but they were unable to help because we were not admitted until the doctor had seen us. The waiting room was so grubby that the thick dust under the chairs was a greyer echo of the snow outside. 

However, I think the old hospital had once looked rather better. In fact, lino is made of linseed and is naturally antiseptic and, in my childhood, hospital corridors were always burnished by a wandering lino-polisher and the linoleum gleamed and smelt of cleaning chemical. The old QE also had those funny bits of thick brass door furniture on heavy wooden doors that, if maintained, shout out that they are solidly engineered British Empire door knobs. But that was then. Here we were in the dirt. The radio blared out rap until my son testily pulled the plug out. A little lady was brought in to add statuary interest and another on a trolley parked outside in the corridor.  And my son paced up and down clutching his head in pain. When we asked whether a doctor were coming or if we could have a pain-killer, we were told that the doctors were all at the side of someone who was bleeding. Of course, this made us feel guilty for asking. We are all guilty in socialism, even if we suffer, because we cannot compete with the abject misery of everyone else.  When I asked one of the doctors, who eventually called in for a moment, if she would just refer us to the private hospital, she said she had never done such a thing and would not be prepared to. (From his office, my husband telephoned the private hospital for us but they insisted that a doctor must refer us: Catch 22.)

[To be continued]

 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 9, 2009

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For the health of the nation (1) 0

 A British citizen – which is to say, a victim of socialism – writes a letter to warn against state-provided ‘health care’. Just reading it might make you sick.

(The writer is Madeleine Westrop, who wrote Under the bed at Lambeth Palace, posted October 1, 2008.)

As it is long, we’ll be posting it in installments. 

Dear Americans,

I understand that many of you would like a Universal Healthcare System and I heard that some of you admire our National Health Service, the “NHS”, here in England.  I should say ‘sic’ when I say NHS because it is neither National (you get some medicines in some areas and not in others[1]); nor is  it healthy, nor  much of a service. 

My son has a condition which means that every now and again he will succumb to ordinary infections in an alarming way. He got tonsillitis a few days ago and, despite antibiotics, this became steadily worse until he had painful ulcers all over the back of his throat, on top of earache, fever, a runny tummy and a painful headache. We had to deal with this through our General Practitioner. In England we have to be referred for all treatment by our GPs and we are all registered with a GP practice. This was part of the original 1948 design of the sic NHS, and was a sop to the doctors who mostly opposed its setting up on the grounds that they would lose responsibility if the state controlled healthcare. The sic NHS is now a power sharing vehicle.

So,  on the coldest day of the year (minus 10, which is very cold for England), my GP said that she had done all she could for him and he must be seen by a hospital specialist in Ears, Noses and Throats.  Could I go to a private hospital just around the corner, I asked? No, I must come across town and pick up his notes and then drive to Selly Oak Hospital, go to entrance E4 and up to ward E5 where the emergency ENT doctor would be waiting for him. She  – the GP – did not know the name of the ENT doctor. I decided to forget the picking-up-notes bit. 

This is an interesting point. The National Programme for IT is meant to connect all GPs and hospitals. It is on a huge but vague billions[2] cost-overrun of  440-770%  and time overrun  of about 5 years.  I note that the Obama/Biden plan proposes a modification of existing data and reporting. You might well have the same crazy IT problems as we have. And over and above the expense, do you want the Government to know your health records?  These would include impertinent details such as your race and the fact you might have paid privately for something. The records are available to schools and social services too.  I do not know if they are available here to police or EU officials, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. What I do know  is that the records will be inaccurate, possibly completely wrong – but that is a whole new story.

Anyway, I got to Selly Oak Hospital and actually found a last parking place (£2.90 for the first hour) and then we slithered through ice and snow all around the vast complex of buildings searching for E4, E5 or any ENT ward. The head porter, whom I met on my wanderings, denied such a place existed.  We did find some ENT type of place but the girl there with a perfectly blank face did not know if we were expected and although she said she would ask the doctor, never did. The porter passed us and suggested there was an E5 ward at another hospital, up the road. So we went to there, to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.  



[1] The Postcode Lottery: various parts of the country have different access to treatment and medicines: for example, beta interferon, in vitro fertilisation, Alzheimer drugs, funding for care homes, and notoriously, cancer drugs such as the breast-cancer drug Herceptin. The Labour Government in 1997 promised to "renew the NHS as a one-nation health service".  They promised again in the 2001 election. For example, they want to force local health authorities to pay for drugs on an approved list formulated by ‘Nice’, the quango set up to approve drugs. However, Nice are notoriously slow and reluctant to approve new drugs so these are not available for some areas. About 600 appeals for drugs are turned down each year, often for non-clinical reasons (expense). If patients buy the drugs for themselves, they are then not allowed to have any NHS care at all for the same condition.

 [2] £12,000,000,000 ish at the last count.

 

[To be continued] 

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 9, 2009

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Feminism and the fate of Muslim women 2

 Could you imagine a worse life to be born into – such that many millions are born into – than that of a Muslim woman somewhere in – say – North Africa?  

 Genitally-mutilated, secluded, wrapped in a black tent, forced into marriage, illiterate, frequently beaten, liable to lose her children at any time, not permitted to go out to work, and not allowed to have medical treatment because doctors are male and may not even see her, let alone examine her. If ever a life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short – and full of pain and sorrow – it is the life of this woman. 

She can be divorced by her husband at his whim, and if she has no family to return to, can be abandoned to starvation.   

Because of her clitorectomy and infibulation, it is agony to menstruate and copulate, and childbirth for her is even more excruciating than it is for most women.

Her children can be taken from her at any time. Her boys, even when they are little, can be sold into slavery, made to fight and kill, or to walk over minefields. Her daughters too can be taken as slaves, for a life of perpetual labour and sexual exploitation; or forced into marriage well before puberty, to endure the same sort of life that she endures.

If she is raped she will be killed by her own male relatives in an ‘honor killing’; or, if condemned to be executed by the state, she will be buried in earth up to her shoulders and stoned to death. 

Of course feminists of the free world are up in arms about this, making a huge fuss about it at the United Nations, doing everything they can with passionate zeal and dedication to help their Muslim sisters – aren’t they?

Actually, no. One hardly hears a peep from them about it.  Even to notice it, they pretend, would be ‘racism’. Because, you see, they are almost all on the political left. Leftism, for its devotees, trumps all; and the left, though it brags of caring about the oppressed – indeed, that is it’s very raison d’etre – is in reality compassionless, deliberately blind and ignorant, and universally actively or passively cruel.  

Jillian Becker  December 2008

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 11, 2008

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Books 0

 Two books we recommend are CRY WOLF by Paul Drake and STEALTH JIHAD by Robert Spencer

They are both about the extreme danger to our civilization of infiltration by uncivilized aliens.  

‘Cry Wolf’ is modeled on George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ but tells a new story for a new political era. The farm animals keep the farm going after the human owners have died. Fences, vigilance, and guard dogs keep the wild animals out.  But first an act of compassion – temporary shelter for a wounded deer – and then a professorial owl’s lectures on the merits of ‘Multi-Animalism’ and the sin of xenophobia induce them to let in more and more feral beasts, to their ultimate doom.

‘Stealth Jihad’ is about the step-by-step advance of Islam within the United States, towards the political end of transforming the country into an Islamic tyranny.  

The allegory and the factual account reinforce each other.  

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 8, 2008

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Biochemical truths are not politically correct 0

Looking after our health and getting medical treatment when we need it is our own responsibility, like getting food, clothes and shelter, and should not be the business of the government. Now medical research finds that treatment for many diseases needs to be  tailor-made for individuals, and ethnicity and gender can make a difference.

Peter W Huber writes (read his whole article here):

No privacy-protecting, discrimination-banning law, no promise that someone else will pay, will ensure that a drug that suits others will suit your genetic profile too… 

This is where diversity blather gives way to the rigorous diversity science that’s taking over the medical show. Drugs supply almost all the real health care these days, because human hands are too big to grapple with the microscopic things that cause most of our problems. Eugenic drugs reflect how biochemically separate and unequal people are. Some, indeed, target genes that track sex, race, or ethnicity; their FDA licenses affirm truths unmentionable in polite society and approve conduct illegal in every other sphere of commerce and public life. All are terrible news for anyone determined to pull people together, pool medicine’s costs, equalize its benefits, and lose diversity in the crowd. The doctors of equity promise universal access to the Mayo Clinic, where the real doctors now brew discriminatory cures and card your genes at the door…

The patient’s chemistry matters as much as the drug’s. Americans are biochemically diverse. Only so much can be learned at the Mayo Clinic; the rest has to be learned from patients whose chemistries weren’t invited to the trial. Trying to invite them all leads to quagmire and stifles learning before it begins. Getting from where we are now to universal care at the pharmacy will involve far more information than Washington can ever hope to assimilate.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 27, 2008

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