Rationed Care

The op-ed in the LA Times this morning is trying to convince me to buy into the idea of rationed care.

Their example: An 82 yo woman who’d suffered a heart attack was now in ICU on “pressers” to increase her blood pressure and her situation was “dire”.

Her doctors quickly concluded that her prognosis was dismal. Aggressive doses failed to raise her systolic pressure above 70 (a worrisome sign). Too much heart muscle was nonfunctioning. Yet she remained awake, alert and chatty.

The doctors wanted to cut her off. Her and her daughter said no. She gets out of ICU lives another year and a half just fine.

fyi – examples like that don’t help.

The op-ed is sprinkled with things like:

“The problem is that individual members only care about themselves, because they don’t have the global perspective.”

and

And then he [one of her doctors] spoke the unspeakable: “We are subconsciously rationing care, whether we call it that or believe that’s what we’re doing…. If we didn’t, the reality is that we would be facing an absurdity in which we made … near-futile efforts to save one life out of an enormous number of failures. We’d bankrupt our healthcare system.”

and

We pick politicians who promise to cut taxes, and we demand low-cost insurance. We’re telling government and the healthcare industry to hold the line on healthcare costs, even if it means sacrificing clinical benefits.

Bottom line – if the government is in charge of your health (or health insurance in the care of Medicare) then, yes, the government should decide things about rationing your care.
And why again should the government be in charge of this? Yet, it’s a requirement in order to get Social Security.

doh