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Socialist UK Healthcare seeking to deny surgery to smokers and the obese

Health care rationing

(NaturalNews) Slowly but surely, the authoritarians are taking over countries that used to be democracies and republics, imposing their own set of behavior and rules on people who used to be free and able to make life choices of their own.

The United Kingdom is one such place, where socialist healthcare bureaucrats are now seeking to punish smokers and those who are obese by withholding certain levels of care (even though these people will still be required to contribute a portion of their earnings to the very same socialist healthcare system). So much for "universal" care.

The UK's Daily Mail reports that smokers and obese patients will be denied surgical procedures and will instead be referred to a health program for six months under cost-saving measures being taken by a health group (more on this later).

The National Health Service's Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has developed this controversial program as part of a plan to shave £8.4 million (about $10.6 million), though senior surgeons are warning it is "wrong."

Here's the plan in a nutshell: If you smoke or if you're overweight, you'll have six months to quit tobacco or shed enough weight to be deemed worthy of surgery. CCG officials aren't exactly saying that, but that's the gist of their new program.

'This is wrong'

The Daily Mail notes further that smokers and patients with a body mass index of 30 or more will be "offered a referral to either a weight management program or stop smoking service for a six-month period of health optimization before being considered for surgery."

In September, NHS England acted to prevent neighboring NHS Vale of York CCG from implementing a similar policy after the Royal College of Surgeons raised medical ethics concerns that the policy would go against clinical recommendations.

St. Helens CCG also had to recently drop a proposal to save money by ending all non-urgent surgical referrals for four months. Ian Eardley, the vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, told the paper he believed such proposals would create outrage among the public.

"The policies for smokers and overweight patients that Harrogate and Rural District CCG intend to impose ignore the public outcry that surrounded similar plans announced by neighboring Vale of York" last month, he said.

In addition, he said such plans contrast with efforts by NHS England to stem such policies.

And while he said the Royal College of Surgeons most definitely backs programs that could help obese patients trim down and smokers kick the habit, "making it a condition of receiving that surgery, no matter how sick they are or how much pain they are in, is wrong."

In fact, he added, NHS England – the central healthcare authority in the country – has said such policies of denying surgical procedures to particular groups of people like smokers and the obese is not consistent with the NHS constitution.

Ration and punish

Eardley implied that trying to save money was a noble goal but not at the expense of certain demographics, as NHS was established as a health care system for all, without condition.

"We hope NHS England will now step in to prevent Harrogate and any other CCG's from targeting patients in this way," he said.

But one official – the CCG's chief officer, Amanda Bloor, defended the policy, saying that it was designed in part to force people to make better lifestyle choices. "It is vital that patients are given the skills and knowledge to take accountability for their own wellbeing to ensure we all lead healthier lifestyles," she intoned.

For anyone who still believes Obamacare – with its top-down, government-regulated and expensive approach – won't someday be used to ration and punish Americans for "lifestyle choices," think again. The only way government-run anything 'saves money' is by cutting back on the services it offers or by forcing people to comply with certain new measures.

England was never the "land of the free" in the mold of America, but it's people were promised that a national healthcare system would take care of them, no questions asked. Now that promise is being broken.

Just like many of the promises Obama and Democrats made in selling the Affordable Care Act.





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