NIKKI Phelps struggled against kidney cancer for 10 years, depleting the life savings of her family and eventually causing them to sell their home in order to supply her with Sutent, a common treatment for cancer.
Her insurance company refused to buy the drug.
Her insurance company was the government of England, which through its National Health Service, refused to supply her with this drug. She died this spring.
"As many as 20,000 Britons may have had their lives cut short because of decisions taken by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the NHS's rationing body, a recent study found," the London Daily Mail reported.
"Despite promising cancer patients in late 2008 that they would get access to life-extending drugs, NICE has turned down no fewer than 10 treatments because they are deemed 'too expensive'."
I bring this up because liberals have howled for years about the superiority of government-run health systems in the rest of the world.
They cite life expectancies and expenditures per person as proof of the supposed superiority of these foreign systems.
But a few things are left out of the equation, the first being that Americans have access to the best health system in the world.
We spend more per capita than any other nation - just as we do on education, and I have yet to hear any liberals compare our outcomes in education to other nations and call for a drastic reduction in our expenditures on education.
I would oppose that as well.
We spend $2 trillion a year on our health. That is not necessarily bad.
Even in a recession, we are a wealthy and prosperous people whose other needs are met. This leaves more money to spend on health.
Is some of the money wasted?
Of course. The government does not have the market cornered on mismanagement.
Do doctors make a lot of money? Many deserve to.
Are drug companies profitable? Again, I hope so.
Do insurance companies make money? Once again, I hope so.
I truly hope that doctors, pharmaceutical companies and yes, insurance companies make money because they provide a service. They earn their keep.
One other fact that gets lost in all this is that 85 percent of American citizens have health insurance, 200 million of them through private insurance through an employer.