Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Medicine and the Media

In the US things are getting nasty over NICE

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 21 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2058
  1. Chris McGreal, Washington correspondent
  1. 1the Guardian
  1. chris.mcgreal{at}

    Critics of US healthcare reform cite alleged failings of the UK’s NHS and NICE as a scare tactic against “socialised medicine”

    Opponents of Barack Obama’s pledge to reform what he has called the United States’ broken healthcare system have launched a counteroffensive with television adverts. These highlight the shortcomings of the NHS and Canadian hospitals to try to block White House proposals to cut costs and widen access to treatment.

    Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR)—which is tied to sections of the US healthcare establishment and has spent millions of dollars on the adverts—has run weeks of the slots, showing doctors and patients ridiculing the UK and Canadian systems over waiting times for operations and the rationing of some treatments and life saving drugs.

    CPR says that Obama’s plans to bring down the cost to the state and private insurance companies of the most expensive healthcare system in the world while extending access to about 45 million people without insurance—15% of the population—will result in rationing by the government. This they have likened to the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

    “As our nation goes forward in its own healthcare reform debate, the failures of the …

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