Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "Playing with capitalism," May 23, 2009

Siren song

The mystery noise that awoke many in the neighborhood surrounding the University of the District Columbia on April 29 turned out to be remnants of a long-forgotten civil defense system installed on campus in the 1970s. Worse than a blaring siren at 5:30 in the morning? No one knew how to turn it off. That's because until the alarm atop a UDC building went off, few university officials even knew it existed. And, for more than two hours, no one could stop it. After two hours, electricians were able to disconnect the upstart siren.

Vision quest

In real estate, it's location, location, location. Vision care in the United Kingdom apparently works the same way. Lesley Fletcher says the NHS, the government's socialized health-care service, is refusing to pay for medicine that will prevent her from going blind-just because of where she lives. Most local trusts will provide British citizens with Lucentis with a prescription, but Fletcher's local NHS trust west of Leeds is an exception. At $1,200 per treatment, her local NHS trust has deemed the treatment too expensive to be cost effective. And unless Fletcher can convince higher-ups in the bureaucracy to change their policy, her myopic macular degeneration will likely lead to sight loss.

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