Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Columnist talks about the idea of Medicare rationing in his own family
Jeffrey Weiss has a "Politics Daily" column “Health Care Rationing and my 91-year-old Dad”, in which he see-saws his way through all the questions of medical and personal ethics in deciding how far to go with treatments in repeated hospitalizations for his father, with multiple medical issues.
There’s no conclusion, but rather a recognition that algorithms need flexibility, and decisions probably depend on support of family members.
We have a culture that says it has absolute respect for human life in all cases. It works out one way in the abortion debate (the rights of the mother, too), but at end of life the issues play out in terms of the sacrifices from others required to preserve life. And the sacrifices may themselves be unsustainable, particularly in an individualistic (rather than heavily socialized) society.
We can easily imagine all the arguments
It seems that the health care debate hasn’t really separated out the issues for eldercare, which exist in a system that is already mostly single payer and heavily into “socialized medicine” even though Medicare patients still get to keep their own doctors (sometimes, too many doctors).