"You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?That's the beginning of an article by Peter Singer from the New York Times last week:
If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man — and everyone else like him — with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life?
If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed."
Why We Must Ration Health Care
How can you not come away from it thinking healthcare needs to be rationed? (Not hard to see it's already being rationed.)
The dilemma ... how much do you limit care? To whom? Should an 85-year-old receive the same benefits as a 14-year old?
What if the question wasn't saving a life but curing disability? What cost would we bear, if we had the technology, to return a quadriplegic to an active and independent life?
Certainly, something needs to change about how much we're spending:
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And how much it's projected we'll be spending:
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Related posts: "High Quality, Equitable Care For Every American, That Should Be Our Goal." -Maggie Mahar