Monday, July 27, 2009
Ken-L Ration Health Care
The latest health reform buzz word is "rationing". Why is it such an awful word? Unless you are Bill Gates your whole life consists of some form of rationing. We have rationing now and we will have it in the future. What is the alternative? Do we spend a million dollars a day to keep one child alive? Do we offer an 89 year old with stage four cancer surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a bone marrow transplant? "But," someone will say "You can't put a price on a human life." We do it everyday. We buy a car that contains three thousand dollars of safety features; if cost didn't matter we would drive around in Sherman Tanks. All we can do is create enough wealth to drive the cost of a human life higher. In the U.S. a human life is worth $1,700. In Somalia a human life is worth 17 cents. We need to look at what we can get for that 17% of our GDP spent on health care. Sometimes there are no good choices. Death comes to every person. It's terrible, especially with children, but it can't be bought off. This is another part of an affluent nation's state of denial. The rich will always get the best, that's the way it is and that's how it's always been. We have to tone down the hysteria of the socialists, the right to lifers, the statists, the globalists and the Hemlock Society. How can we use our finite resources best to bring an acceptable level of health to our society? Maybe "do everything you can for grandma" isn't the best response in every situation. These are terrible choices that haunt people, however waving the bloody shirt of rationing solves nothing. There is a middle ground between society spending half a million dollars to keep great Grannie around for three more months versus putting Grannie out on an ice flow to await the polar bear because she can't chew the blubber anymore.
All these policy buzz words are just "dead herrings", they shine, but they stink. They are meant to stifle discussion. The other buzz word that bugs me is "wellness" but I can't handle that right now without blood shooting out my nose.