So, this notion that it’s just a question of applying

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US author scathing on Obama health reform 19

ELEANOR HALL: Now to that critique of the US health care system, which comes not from a politician, but from a novelist.

ELEANOR HALL: Lionel Shriver your novel highlights many of the inconsistencies and cruelties of the US health system and it came out as the Obama health bill was dividing Americans. But did you intend to engage in such a political debate when you began the novel?

canada goose clearance sale LIONEL SHRIVER: I had intended to start a political debate because when I began writing this book, it was the autumn of 2007 and Obama was not a credible candidate for president, much less was he in the White House shoving health care reform to the top of the agenda. canada goose clearance sale

In fact, when I started this book, health care reform was not even an expression in the United States.

uk canada goose ELEANOR HALL: So, what made you want to start the debate? uk canada goose

LIONEL SHRIVER: I was exasperated with the way that medical matters were run in my country. I actually live most of the year in Britain, so I’m accustomed to living with a national canada goose outlet 80 off health system and it works for me. And so when I go back to the United States I take my life in my hands. Most of all I take my bank account in my hands because if I take a wrong turn on my bike and get run over by a taxi, I could lose everything I have.

canada goose factory sale ELEANOR HALL: You effectively pose the question in your novel is there a limit an individual or indeed the state should pay to keep a person alive. Do you have an answer? canada goose factory sale

Canada Goose Coats On Sale LIONEL SHRIVER: Of course, I don’t have a numerical answer but I do believe that a numerical answer is necessary. There’s an expression in the US, you can’t put a dollar value on human life and I’m afraid that that’s exactly what we’ve got to do. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

In the UK, they have a body called the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which is abbreviated, ironically, NICE, whose job is anything but nice and that is to do exactly that. to put a pound value on each individual British citizen and say, look no we’re not going to pay for this treatment, no we’re not going to pay for this drug, we don’t get value for money.

buy canada goose jacket cheap ELEANOR HALL: Effectively that happens in the US too, doesn’t it, but it’s in a more ad hoc way? buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose uk shop LIONEL SHRIVER: It’s in a less systematic way and in a less just way. So if you’ve got really good health insurance, you can spend a huge amount of money because you’re covered. If you don’t have health insurance or if your health insurance is crummy then no, you don’t spend lots of money on it. canada goose uk shop

This novel took its immediate inspiration from a very close friend of mine who died of mesothelioma, which is the disease that I use in the novel and her treatment cost $2 million. Two million dollars and that’s over the course of a year and three months.

Now at the most, the treatment, it was major surgery followed by brutal chemotherapy, which ruined the end of her life, that probably got her an extra three months maybe. But if you look at how that disease would have been dealt with in the UK, they don’t treat it; they just give you palliative care.

ELEANOR HALL: And do you think that would have been better for her?

Canada Goose Outlet LIONEL SHRIVER: Yes, I do. I think that her life, the end of her life would have been better. I also think that it wouldn’t have given her false hope in a way that meant that she canada goose outlet might have been able to confront what was happening to her. Canada Goose Outlet

ELEANOR HALL: That’s one of the interesting things that you do in your book too, you actually have some fun with the metaphors of disease cancer is a battle, Canada Goose Jackets the names of the pharmaceutical drugs and so on. Do you think though that it is driven by cynical big companies wanting us to see disease like that or do we actually want to see disease canada goose womens outlet in that way? Do we want to put off confronting death?

LIONEL SHRIVER: I think it’s a combination of cynical practices getting us canada goose shop review to buy things, buy the drugs that we think are going to save us. But I also think it’s a cultural thing. That we want to control disease, we want to control the outcome. So, this notion that it’s just a question of applying yourself, of having the right attitude, of will power, is very attractive.

So that this kind of language and the medical establishment is beguiling to us and a lot of people buy into it.

ELEANOR HALL: You look at a lot of the, sort of, specifics of the US system lifetime limits in co payments and the specific network of doctors that you’ve got to use. Do you think that will now change with Obama’s health bill or not?

LIONEL SHRIVER: Not very much. No. I don’t think this bill is going to make a big difference. After all, what Obama ended up backing is a legislation that nails down private health insurance as the way people get medical care covered in the United States and he took off the table, from the very beginning, any prospect of having a national healthcare system.

And as well intended that I believe that he was, I’m worried that what this legislation means is that as far as the American public is concerned, we have now addressed this issue and we won’t come back to it for another 20 years. In the meantime, the cost of medical care in the canada goose uk size guide United States is going to continue to go through the roof.

You’ve cheap canada goose got a medical establishment that is making a lot of money off of people. So, it’s not in their interests, for example with someone like Glenice, to do what they do in the UK and say, you know what, we can’t cure mesothelioma. We could throw a lot of chemicals at it, but it would just make you miserable and you’d die anyway.

So, what we’re really going to do is just make you comfortable and send you off and we hope that you have as nice a life as possible for what little time remains. You’ll never get that in the United States.

canada goose black friday sale ELEANOR HALL: Is the psychological and the emotional burden of being sick worse under a different health system or is it likely to be similarly bleak regardless? canada goose black friday sale

LIONEL SHRIVER: The experience of being ill is obviously much bigger than being American. This is not just an American issue and that’s why I think this novel has an international audience. canada goose gilet mens uk Even the economic question I’m asking how much is one life worth, can we continue to lavish this much money on what is really end of life care? That applies to other Western countries as well.

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