Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Case for "Rationing" Health Care at

I have a story at AlterNet today that makes the case for rationing health care. You can read it here. An excerpt:

Because resources are finite, rationing will always be a part of any health care system, whether overseen by insurance companies or the government; and frankly, always should be -- but not like this.

According to a 2-year-old study by Consumer Reports, about 40 percent of the U.S. population has inadequate access to health care, all but ensuring an early death to those among the un- and under-insured who have a life-threatening condition. Among the remaining 60 percent, many receive far more health resources than they need or want, more than is even good for them.

Excessive medication, tests and treatments are not only costly;they do little to improve the nation's health (PDF). If this abundance of treatment and testing truly reaped a bonanza in national well-being, the U.S. brand of health care would have a higher rating among nations than the pitiful ranking of 37 awarded the U.S. health care system by the World Health Organization.

Please let me know what you think! Best, Ann

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Blogger mike said...

A good article and I appreciate you writing this. I'm sixty-three and am confronted daily with how much I like life, but worry some about getting sick. I then have to consider how much I might give back to life as I know it, which is the life of the young and living people around me. The image I have of our health care is that, were I to get very sick and locked into the hospital/doctor way of life, it would be the image of an old man living alone in a twenty-room house so that a real-estate agent and all her staff can drive a new Lexus -- I'm sorry, but it seems that raw to me, especially when, to continue the image, my hypothetical neighbors are raising large families in two room apartments.

I'm not saying this very well, but it's that I feel that I owe a duty to young people to not take health care away from them so that I can have a ridiculously expensive extra hour or so in semi-life.

October 7, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger L A Neumann said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for writing. In a just society no one should worry about using necessary health care resources. We are all entitled to the services that we desire. It is this choice in health care services that I am writing about in the article.

Because of the way our health care currently works - rationed by for-profit corporations - many US citizens are without access to medical treatment. And those insured are often over-treated to no greater effect.

I have no doubt about your contribution to society and right to adequate health care resources! The kind of real estate analogy you use makes me very sad. Equality in the valuation of life is essential!

My simple and only point is that our system currently rations health care by class. Were we to "ration" according to best practice, more Americans would be healthier and longer-living and the medical industry would be held accountable for their ineffective treatment and profit-generation tactics.

Here's to your long and productive life! And to your right to choose what health care resources you wish to avail yourself of!

Thanks again for writing, Mike. I hope to hear from you again soon! Ann

October 7, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

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