Monday, August 10, 2009

Health Care Choices: First in a Series

There is such debate about health care today, and lots of misleading and just plain wrong information out there. So, here is the first in a series of posts I'll be doing to bring a little reality check to the matter.

Anyone who says we can't have health care reform because it could lead to rationing has no idea how the current system works. People who do not have health insurance have care rationed. People who cannot afford to pay $4 per pill for the latest blood pressure or heart or diabetes medicine face rationing. As Dr. Howard Dean said of his experience practicing medicine -- he never talked to anyone from the government who wanted to limit the tests he could order or the treatments he could prescribe for Medicare patients, but he fought with insurance companies' limits on care daily.

Let's look at organ transplants as an example. There are not enough donated organs for all the people who could use one. Thus, there needs to be a system to determine who should receive donated organs. What criteria should be used?
Concepts are under review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is assessing whether the concepts are consistent with applicable federal laws, including the Age Discrimination Act. a lot of people don't know that the Department of Health and Human Services already has an Office of Civil Rights that exists to protect Americans' fundamental right of nondiscrimination; that is "from unfair treatment or discrimination, because of your race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex (gender), or religion."

So, we have an otherwise healthy 25-year old man who has a catastrophic brain injury from an automobile crash. His family wants to donate his organs. But, to whom should they go?
  1. A 35 year old woman, married with three children
  2. A 39 year old man, married with no children
  3. A 32 year old single woman who works as a legal secretary
  4. A 38 year old single man who works as a research scientist at the National Cancer Institute
In the comments, post your choice and the criteria you believe should be used to determine who should get organs. Then, I'll tell you what the research says and see what you think.


Nopartisan said...

It should be first on list first to receive transplant, except in life or death cases. Any other way makes some peoples lives more important than others.

West Haven Bob said...

I agree - the only absolutely fair and moral plan is "First in, first out"; with no other criteria.

My younger sister died before she could get a kidney transplant...this is a sensitive subject for me.

Kirby said...

I'm sorry to hear that, WH Bob -- and thank you for contributing.

hampshire said...

Its good. my first choice is health care..

West Haven Bob said...

RIP, Eunice....

Your contributions to this world will never be forgotten.