Obama on rationing care
From June 24th:
Jane Sturm: “My mother is now over 105. But at 100, the doctors said to her, ‘I can’t do anything more unless you have a pacemaker.’ I said, ‘Go for it.’ She said, ‘Go for it.’ But the specialist said, ‘No, she’s too old.’ But when the other specialist saw her and saw her joy of life, he said, ‘I’m going for it.’ That was over five years ago. My question to you is: Outside the medical criteria for prolonging life for somebody who is elderly, is there any consideration that can be given for a certain spirit, a certain joy of living, a quality of life, or is it just a medical cutoff at a certain age?”
Obama: “We aren't going to solve every difficult problem in terms of end of life care. A lot of that is going have to be we as a culture and as a society starting to make better decisions within our own family and for ourselves. But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that is not making anyone's mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs, that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care. That at least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”
I have also seen the following quote from Obama's ABC address.
"I don’t think that we can make judgments based on people’s ’spirit.’ Uh, that would be, uh, a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules that, uh, say that, uh, we are going to provide good quality care for all people. . . . End-of-life care is one of the most difficult sets of decisions that we’re going to have to make. But understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they’re not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they’re being made by private insurers. At least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”
Of course, there is also Obama's questioning of hip replacement surgery.
Obama said “you just get into some very difficult moral issues” when considering whether “to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill.
“That’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues,” he said in the April 14 interview. “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health- care bill out here.”
Obama promised during his presidential campaign that a health-care overhaul would be a top priority, and he said at a Missouri town hall meeting today that he hopes Congress will pass health-care legislation this year.
The issue has been divisive, and finding an answer that will keep costs down while extending coverage to the estimated 46 million Americans without health insurance has eluded past presidents. . . . .
Rangel (8/4/09): "That there is over $2 trillion worth of waste out there in the health delivery system. And the fact is that there is tens of billions of dollars in terms of profits that are made by the health insurance companies."
Or how about Larry Summers claim that $700 billion would be saved each year just from stopping unnecessary surgeries.