We had an interesting debate this morning as a result of a speech local MP Dr Phillip Lee made to a think-tank last night calling for patients who lived unhealthy lifestyles to be forced to pay for their treatment.
Dr Lee said some evidence suggested diabetes treatments could account for a quarter of the NHS budget by 2025.
“This clearly isn’t a sustainable position,” he said in a speech to the right-leaning think tank.
would suggest one way of perhaps trying to move that locus of responsibility for health care from the state to the individual would be in making it that you pay for your drugs at cost, in that way you would be attaching a consequences to lifestyle choice.”.
The idea seems pretty straightforward, if you choose to eat unhealthily others shouldn’t subsidise you, if you smoke, similarly others shouldn’t subsidise your treatment. But where do you draw the line?
One of my colleagues rides a mountain bike, whilst this could be seen as healthy, why should I as someone who doesn’t ride a mountain bike subsidise his hospital treatment if he falls off and injures himself? Similarly why should people who have chosen not to have children subsidise maternity care for those who do, or indeed subsidise healthcare for the children?
Also who decides whether somebodies illness is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle or something else – will it be the GP’s themselves, or do we hand it to some independent group like ATOS, who as we all know are currently doing a superb job at assessing disability claimants…