Thursday, July 16, 2009

Health-care rationing and the "QALY" method: Peter Singer takes it to the root


Here’s an interesting perspective in “Business Insider” by Joe Weisenthal “Peter Singer’s Uncontroversial Call for Health Care Rationing”, link here. He makes the interesting point that it is the social conservatives who object to “rationing” of end-of-life care, although in practice it happens (and it really happens in Canada, Britain and the rest of Europe).

Of course, he is referring to Pete Singer’s piece in New York Magazine last Sunday (July 12), “Why We Must Ration Health Care” here. There is a certain reductive rationalism in his arguments toward the end of his piece (where he talks about the “QALY”, or quality-adjusted life year); but I agree, we must deal with it “rationally.”

I also think that for some people, “less care” really is more, and they may be better off not knowing certain things, which don’t always get worse.

It looks like the president doesn’t yet have much bipartisan consensus on his reform package. The first committee hearing went 13-10, Democrats over Republicans, and sounds like a late fall football game.

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