Health Care Rationing, from a Professor’s Perspective

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

It’s really dangerous, for patients anyway, when policy wonks decide what type of health care is necessary. website

“In popular understanding, rising health-care spending is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of advances in medical technology, increasing longevity, expanded access, and other mostly positive factors,” Johns Hopkins University lecturer Phillip Longman wrote in the Summer 2015 issue of The Family in America, a journal of public policy. “Many people also point to profiteering by health insurers, or to needless administrative costs, or to patients demanding treatments they do not need.”

“Yet, while all these factors play a role in driving up health-care costs, the mounting drain imposed by the health-care sector on the rest of the economy comes mostly from its inflated prices, low productivity, and high volumes of unnecessary surgeries, redundant tests, and other profit maximizing behaviors among increasingly monopolistic health-care providers.”

This is more than vaguely reminiscent of the guideline of one HMO 20 years ago that stated if you wanted cataract surgery in both eyes, you had to prove that you needed both eyes. Moreover, supposedly “unnecessary tests” can give doctor and patient alike information they might find useful, such as whether the latter broke any bones or suffered an internal damage in an accident.