Friday, July 17, 2009

Rationing health care, not an original idea.

Right after I posted my last blog, giving my opinion on the health care debate and the need for rationing in the future, I happened to read in the New York Times a terrific editorial about the very same topic. It was published two days ago but I swear I had no idea it was there until I had posted on my blog.

The editorial by Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, gives some very pointed arguments about how we must quantify the value of life in order to properly ration health care and bring down its costs. For instance, what is the value of 10 years of life as a quadriplegic versus for a nonquad? Five years? Six years? So is the life of a quadriplegic worth only half the life of a nonquadriplegic? Would a person with quadriplegia agree? Another good example is if you had a life threatening illness how much would you spend for a treatment that extends your life by six months? Would you pay the same amount for a stranger with the same disease to extend his life for six months? Terrific stuff. It's a long article but well worth the effort.

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