Rationing And Death Panels


Posted on : 4/07/2010 12:44:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

David Leonhardt has an article in the NYTimes about the coming changes in health care.  He focuses on the purported savings to be realized by both the Medicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board.  The former now has the legal teeth to determine which treatments are available for which patients/conditions.  The latter is supposed to have the authority to tell doctors how much they can charge for a given procedure.

Mr. Leonhardt advocates rationing health care and using the force of government to prevent patients from obtaining treatment.

From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can't sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare’s long-term budget deficit will grow.

So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. "Being able to say no," Dr. Alan Garber of Stanford says, "is the heart of the issue."

Rationing.....although Mr. Leonhardt only uses that word once and then only to suggest that it is an inaccurate description.

Rationing.  A common and dominant feature where ever national health care is practiced.

For those that scoffed at the idea of "death panels", now you know their true name; Medicare innovation center.

But I suspect that these arguments won't be persuasive. They have the faint ring of an insurer’s rationale for denying a claim.

No, Mr. Leonhardt.  The insurer's rationale for denying a claim has the faint ring of one's government declaring by edict that you are not eligible to receive life saving treatment.  At least when an insurer says "no", patients can appeal, speak to regulatory agencies, or even hold a community fund raiser.  What do patients do when the government declares it illegal for them to receive treatment?

The most significant step may be when an insurer refuses to cover a procedure.  But it is not necessarily the last one.  People in a free country always have options.

At least, we used to.

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