So we come to ObamaCare, the program that, so we're told, will see him carried about in a solid gold sedan chair for the rest of his life by an eternally grateful populace. The sneak appointment of David Berwick to run the thing makes transparent a fact that was brought up continually and just as continually dismissed during the health care debate: that Obama wants a duplicate of the U.K. National Health Service, the sole British feature that he admires.
And that's an interesting development. Because, according to studies by British health care specialists, the NHS kills up to 95,000 patients a year through incompetence, mistakes, and accidents. This number is ten times the international per capita average. It is the highest in Europe, and twice that of the U.S., a nation with six times the population.
Since the NHS was established in 1948, hospital beds have dropped from over 800,000 to 160,000, while the number of bureaucrats has expanded to nine for each patient. Tales of patient abuse are a never-ending, almost a daily occurrence. A week ago, the Daily Mail featured a story about a young woman who entered an NHS hospital with excruciating head pain. Assuring her that it was merely a headache, the staff dumped her in a ward. It was actually a rare brain infection. When she began screaming uncontrollably as her brain was crushed against the inside of her skull, the staff tied her to a bed and left her. The next time they checked, she was dead.
Then we have the Liverpool Care Pathway or LCP, a method of end-of-life treatment in which any given doctor decides whether a person is dying or not, and then orders all food and water withheld -- the Terri Schiavo treatment -- along with heavy sedation. Hundreds have died from mistaken LCP diagnoses, including people suffering from such terminal ailments as broken legs, gastritis, and skin infections. I seem to recall a certain lady mentioning "death panels" at some point or other.
Just last week, the NHS ran into a "cash flow" problem (a neat trick with a budget of nearly $100 billion a year). The "trusts" which control hospital operations ran out of funds, leaving the hospitals high and dry. Patients were abandoned on operating tables for hours. Others scheduled for procedures were sent home. Ward patients were denied necessary drugs and painkillers. (The same thing happened in New South Wales in 2008, almost driving the state's health care system -- also based on the NHS -- to collapse. This episode was kept very quiet...so quiet that no single reference to it was made in the American media.)
That's what's coming to us with ObamaCare. Oh yeah -- the number of accidental deaths under such circumstances will rise to the vicinity of 450,000. This won't simply increase Obama's popularity -- it will raise him to the level of legend. The problem is that the legend will comprise equal parts Bernard Madoff, Charles Manson, and Ludwig, Mad King of Bavaria.