The Wonder Wander

04/30/2011

Health Care Rationing

Filed under: Government,Politics — Tom Malley @ 12:28 pm
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While we debate health care and talk about rationing, just remember that there has always been health care rationing. When cost is a factor in deciding whether or not to undergo medical treatment you have rationing, and the person paying the bill is the rationer.

For example, consider a time when health insurance was not as common as it is today. In those days some terminally ill patients elected to forgo treatment rather than bankrupt their families. This was especially true when the treatment was expensive and could only hope to prolong life for a short time.

When health insurance became more available, people became more willing to undergo expensive treatment, even if it only provided a few extra months of life. Why not, if the insurance company is paying for it?  However, sometimes the insurance company elects not to pay for it. Now we have corporate rationing instead of self-rationing.

If the government takes over the role of health insurance or even becomes a player in reducing expenditures on health care, then we will move from corporate rationing to government rationing. The more involved the government is with controlling medical expenditures, the more government will be involved in rationing.

That’s just the way it is. That’s the way it has always been.

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