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Monday, January 3, 2011

death panels?

Why do death panels continue to capture peoples imagination?
Perhaps it is because the 2010 Healthcare Bill originally contained something about end of life planning which was later taken out.
Perhaps it is because the Nobel Laureate and liberal economic spokesman Paul Krugman used the term in late 2010.

I think that it resonates with people because they understand, intuitively, that any health care system must include a method for deciding which things the system will cover and which things it will not. That is simple reality.

My favorite example would be one of those procedures that is very expensive and has a very low rate of success.
I saw a television show the other day about a woman whose son was ill with a rare and expensive disease. She explained how happy she was that the lifetime limit on his insurance was $6,000,000. But then she discovered that the first treatment would be $250,000 and she calculated that the coverage would run out when he was about 5 years old. What then?
Of course there is always the issue of elective surgery.

With our present system it is the much demonized insurance companies who make these decisions. You could say that they operate, or that they are, the “death panels.”
Except in the case of medicare, in which case it is the government which is making the decisions about what will be covered and what will not and how much it will pay for various services.

Someone will have to make these decisions. Someone will operate these “death panels”. Why not simply acknowledge reality here? Then give a bit of thought to the political-perception question. Begin by recalling a lesson from the past. Remember how much better it sounds to say that you are pro-choice rather than pro-abortion? Perhaps we could start calling them by some less ominous, and more accurate, name. How about, Coverage Boards.


1 comment:

  1. No, no, no, no - “Coverage Boards” is far to descriptive. How about Health Care Entitlement Benefactors.