Universal Health Care Says: Tattoo Removal, Yes; Life-Saving Cancer Drugs, No

I’ve written (see here, here and here for recent examples) often on the problems with so-called “universal care” medical systems.

Now National Center board member and Heritage Foundation health analyst Ed Haislmaier writes to point out an especially ludicrious example from Britain of the misplaced health priorities such systems inevitably develop, despite the best efforts of well-meaning managers:

A former sailor who has had a sex-change is to have her tattoos removed on the NHS because she feels “unladylike…”

…Tanya Bainbridge, 57, who was born Brian, wants the tattoos removed so she can wear sleeveless dresses and tops in summer. The procedure reportedly costs [2,500 British pounds].

Miss Bainbridge, who has nine children – from whom she is now estranged – by three different women, had a [20,000 British pound] sex-change operation on the NHS in 2001 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

Her local primary health care trust will pay for her to visit the hospital again for laser treatment to remove the tattoos…

Mother-of-three Claire McDonnell, 33, has been refused “wonder drug” Herceptin by Wokingham Primary Care Trust to treat her aggressive form of breast cancer because of its cost.

Mrs McDonnell, from Reading in Berkshire, said the cost of removing Miss Bainbridge’s tattoo… was the same amount as the initial treatment of Herceptin. She added: “That money could pay for my breast cancer treatment.”

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