Posts Tagged ‘death panels’

The Rationing of Healthcare for Profit

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

If medical care is an entitlement, our society cannot afford to pay for everything that is currently available. We need to set goals regarding who receives what care and for how long.

This requires rationing, by definition. In the US, rationing of medical care has always been with us. We are in denial, and we tend to avoid the term “rationing.” It’s perceived as un-American, so we refuse to acknowledge it.

One common method of rationing is by queue. People await their turn. Another method of rationing long in use in the US  is the limitation of  care through age discrimination. For example, organ transplants frequently are denied to those above a certain age.

Today in the US, rationing decisions are made by medical insurers based on profit motives. An individual’s healthcare needs are limited by the insurer’s financial goals. (more…)

The Health Rights Amendment

Monday, September 14th, 2009

To be perceived as fair in our egalitarian society, rights must be the same for everyone. Shouldn’t that apply to medical care as well?

Life is one of the inalienable rights set forth in our Declaration of Independence. But how healthy and how long a life is part of that inalienable right to life? The Constitution and Bill of Rights do not explicitly provide for health rights. Since this is not already covered as an American entitlement, maybe we need a Health Rights Amendment.

If everyone has the right to good health, this becomes a government fiscal responsibility. Our government, however, cannot possibly fund the good health to which everybody in the US may feel they are entitled today.

How should we define good health?  (more…)

Let’s First Define the Goals for US Medical Care

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Healthcare reform is being widely discussed right now, but the goals of our healthcare system are undefined! What are our actual intended goals for medical care in the US?

Are the goals to improve the population’s health, relieve pain and suffering, and prevent immediate death? Or do the goals also include satisfying everybody’s self-perceived wants to prolong meaningful life as long as possible by all available means? These are very different goals with very different implications for our healthcare system.

Prolonging meaningful life by all available means includes not only treatment with all available drugs and surgical procedures, but also replacing and mimicking all sorts of body-part functions with transplanted organs and artificial devices. That’s a very expensive proposition.

Do our goals include the prevention of all disease? (more…)