Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obama Says Grandmother’s Hip Replacement Raises Cost Questions -

Obama Says Grandmother’s Hip Replacement Raises Cost Questions - "Obama said “you just get into some very difficult moral issues” when considering whether “to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill.

“That’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues,” he said in the April 14 interview. “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health- care bill out here.”"

That was Obama on April 14, 2008. In the previous sentence, he said, "“I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother.” So it is seems that he is questioning whether Medicare should pay for procedures like this. That's the only way it becomes a public policy issue. He made other similar statements. How far does he want to carry this cost-benefit principle in rationing health care to the elderly?


Beth said...

Well, gee, Evan, I can think of a couple of ways to find answers to your question.

You could look to see what else the President actually has said on the subject, e.g., that we can help doctors and patients get better information to use when making those decisions for themselves ("I don't want bureaucracies making those decisions . . . . [T]hose kinds of decisions between doctors and patients, and making sure that our incentives are not preventing those good decision, and that -- that doctors and hospitals all are aligned for patient care, that's something we can achieve. I apologize for snipping his words but as you know, the guy is very wordy; you can read the whole thing or any of the other actual statements he has made on the topic)

Or, since Obama is not a legislator, you could look at the proposals themselves and see what sort of rationing has actually been proposed. I'm not aware of any provision in any version of the house bill that would ration health care for the nation's elderly, but maybe you can point us to something, i.e. that actually exists (as opposed to something that someone fears might someday exist at the end of a long and slippery slope).

It's a fact that end-of-life decisions are difficult and that end-of-life care is expensive. Why would you want anyone to pretend otherwise? Acknowledging these facts is not the same as proposing to ration health care.

Anonymous said...

Beth said...

Anonymous--Camille Paglia?

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