As Carrie Lukas wrote last week, Americans need to brace themselves for higher healthcare costs. But another thing Americans need to prepare for is the inevitable reality that they will be denied critical life saving care because of government rationing.

The UK’s Daily Mail has a disturbing story today detailing the plight of thousands of breast cancer patients denied a lifesaving drug because the British government’s “rationing body” declared it too expensive.  

Thousands of women with aggressive breast cancer are to be denied a ‘last chance’ drug on the NHS.  The Government’s rationing body says lapatinib is too expensive even though its makers are giving the first three months’ treatment free and claim the NHS will save money.

The drug, which could benefit 2,000 women a year, costs £1,600 a month and prolongs lives by about three months in trials. But some women with advanced disease are still alive two years after starting treatment.

The decision by the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is a fresh blow for cancer patients after the rejection of several other drugs.  It comes despite a pledge by Nice to be more flexible in giving life-extending drugs to small numbers of terminally ill cancer patients after a public outcry over ‘death sentence’ decisions.