The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) basically figures out who deserves treatment by using a cost-utility analysis based on the "quality adjusted life year."Hawking is, of course, a British citizen and does receive fantastic health care from British National Healthcare... In America, the hospital would tell you how much it'd cost. And since Dr. Hawking can't qualify for insurance, wouldn't have the money to pay for his medical care, sure as Bob's your uncle, Dr. Hawking would be dead in short order without Medicare or some other government assistance to take the load.
One year in perfect health gets you one point. Deductions are taken for blindness, for being in a wheelchair and so on.
The more points you have, the more your life is considered worth saving, and the likelier you are to get care.
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
And, for the record people, it's insurance reform. The goal is to cut out the bloated, wasteful insurance companies that add 40% to the cost of medicine while being unaffordable for nearly one-quarter of all Americans.