23 May Majority of Americans Don’t Know Healthcare Rationing Takes Place in Their Own Backyard
Arguments in support of assisted suicide often focus on patient choice. Proponents argue that no one has to commit assisted suicide if they do not want to, and its legalization only expands patient choice. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that assisted suicide impacts everyone’s health care choices because it creates perverse incentives for profit driven and government run health insurance companies to offer a cheap death over costly care to save their bottom line. The economically disadvantaged, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities already have to battle the harsh realities of healthcare disparities that exist in our healthcare system; and, legitimizing assisted suicide as a medical treatment only adds to the deadly mix, constraining freedom of choice rather than expanding it.
“Today, the Alliance for Aging Research released new survey findingsregarding the public perception of healthcare rationing in the United States. Amid the coronavirus, healthcare rationing has become a serious concern, especially surrounding ventilator access and hospital admissions. But as results of the nationwide survey show, many Americans do not realize this type of rationing has been encouraged and orchestrated by one particular organization, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, or ICER, for some time.
ICER produces reports known as “cost-effectiveness analyses” on how much it thinks new drugs should cost. To do this, ICER uses a metric known quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). QALYs assign a financial value to the patients for whom a given treatment is intended. They originated in the 1960s when the British government sought to ration healthcare for its National Health Service and then other European countries followed suit. Rationing in European countries has not only resulted in access issues but also translates into higher mortality.
The ICER methodology values treating young people in good health over treating older adults (65 and older) and people with disabilities. This greatly limits access to potentially life-saving treatments for the nation’s most vulnerable patients. How? Insurance companies and some government health systems use ICER recommendations as reasoning to deny access to care for patients.
In this survey, the Alliance asked participants if they were aware of an organization that promotes this type of healthcare rationing. The majority — 58 percent — said they were not aware. Of those who are 55 years or older, 72 percent were unaware.
The survey also asked if respondents believed health insurance companies should be able to deny coverage for medical treatment based on the age, illness, or disability of a patient. An overwhelming 70 percent strongly disagreed.”
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