Thursday, September 10, 2009

We've Got "Death Panels" Right Now

That's right. Bureaucrats deciding who will live and who will die, with an eye on the budget. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times, not exactly known for its left-wing sympathies, reports that HMOs in the state deny on average one out of five claims. I'd suggest reconsidering if you're insured by PacifiCare: they reject 40% of all claims by their livestock - er, I mean clients. Cigna's a little better: they only refuse care to one out of three people who need it (remember these claims are only filed after a sick or injured person sees a physician).

Of course it's not surprising that the present system includes assiduously working, merciless "death panels": the current system is a for profit system. The private bureaucrat isn't trying to conserve budget money, they're trying to make profit money. According to Republicans, that's alright: if you've involved yourself in a business exchange and the other person turns out to get to kill you so he can make some more money, that's the free enterprise system at work. Private "death panels" (that are hard at it every day, right now) are acceptable.

Meanwhile, one of the several health care reform legislative packages includes (among many other things) the provision that, by request of the patient, public option-insured patients could receive end-of-life counseling. This would be, for example, advice about wills, about hospices, and so forth. A study published in the August 18th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that such counseling improved both the quality of life and the longevity of terminally ill patients (and this study was, surprisingly enough, reported without criticism by Fox News, which has degenerated along with the Republican Party itself into hysterical reaction; I guess Mr. Murdoch's people can't stay on top of everything).

It might be useful to point out to your conservative friends that we have "death panels" right now, and that the president is trying to get rid of them.


ibdragon said...

Well said!

Holte Ender said...

I have never been refused treatment, but both my wife and I have been refused medications that our doctor had prescribed, and guided by insurance to try something else. Something cheaper.
What do you do, pay $150 to get what was prescribed, or $20 co-pay for what they suggest.
Not exactly death-panel stuff, but it made me angry that insurance was over ruling the doctor because of price.