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National Health Service floats euthanasia trial balloon
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, June 29, 2006

When government controls and rations your health care it certainly isn't beyond the pale that this sort of discussion would take place, is it?
Terminally ill patients could have their lives ended in a cash-strapped NHS if legislation is introduced to legalise euthanasia, campaigners warned yesterday.

The British Medical Association was told it faced a revolt over its euthanasia stance.
Good for the BMA.

Another interesting couple of paragraphs from the article:
Peter Saunders, the group's director, said: "If the law was changed it would mean a lot of vulnerable people would feel under pressure to request early death because they feel themselves to be a financial and emotional burden."

Dr Saunders said a glass of barbiturates that could be used to end someone's life cost £4, which could seem an attractive substitute for pensions and health care in a "cash-strapped NHS".
While our medical care system may not be what we want it to be at this time, I think I would be safe in assuming that the vast majority of us wouldn't want vulnerable elderly patients having such decisions made for them by government or being coerced into making "requests" to end their lives.

All systems will ration health care. All of them. That's because you have infinite demand meeting finite resources. The best system is that which meet the demands of most health care consumers. And, because of its track record for innovation and entrepreneurial risk taking focused on satisfying market demand (and, for the most part doing it very successfully), I still think the free market is the best and most efficient bet.
 
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Comments
My father predicted this nearly twenty years ago, although he did not limit the context to health care: he also warned me about "attitudes toward euthanasia" (his exact words) as the socialist insecurity producer/consumer ratio increasingly approaches 1:1.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
McQ, refer me to a free market heath plan you think would work. Being in the Medicare system and my employers health care plan at the same time, I have become jaded that any system would work well. I guess I don’t think a free market system would work, because there seems to be too much stuff that is overpriced already. I can’t see any demand or competition that would roll back any pricing, which in itself it would automatically ration health care for most people. I think the rationing could be too severe.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
That’s because you have infinite demand meeting finite resources.
This is actually untrue. Just because the demand outstrips the supply doesn’t make it infinite. The problem is people go to the doctor for every tiny ache and pain rather than ration their healthcare because a copay is only $20. But to say the demand is infinite is a little misleading.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
VRB, I’ve mentioned this before, and been trashed, but here it goes:
McDonalds and Boob jobs. You don’t have to fill out paperwork, have a deductible, have a "pre-authorization" for lunch. You make a choice, based on a number of issues, as to where to eat lunch, almost every day. A market-based program, by definition, really ought to be more efficient. And in medicine there are a number of areas that ARE market-driven, LASIK and Cosmetic surgery. Both are "elective" surgeries and generally not covered by insurance. Yet, they are being performed in ever growing numbers!

It seems fairly obvious, to me at least, that consumers CAN make rational choices on product selection in the medical field. So YOU are the competition that will hold down costs.

Yes rationing occurs, in the market-system. We all don’t drive Mercedes-Benz’s nor do we all live in 6,000 ft^2 houses-I keep hoping but I can’t yet-, but it still probably a better form of rationing than letting your MD and a panel of "Bio-Ethicists" and government accountants/economists do it FOR you.

Will it be perfect? No. Will some people get better care than others, Yes. But it’s doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better and of course Bill Gates and George W. Bush ALREADY get better care than I do.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What’s wrong with euthanasia? I don’t see anything in there about it being involuntary, and I don’t see any moral grounds on which to object to voluntary end of life decisions.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
What’s wrong with euthanasia? I don’t see anything in there about it being involuntary, and I don’t see any moral grounds on which to object to voluntary end of life decisions.
Sure. Nothing wrong with shaming old people to death.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
What’s wrong with euthanasia?
I’d prefer to have the set of people who think I should die and the set of people whose job it is to keep me alive and healthy to be disjoint.

But that’s just me.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
As opposed to forcing you to hang around because they can when you’re not really healthy and/or happy?

Striping you of every last dime and forcing you to live on the government dole, or on the good graces of your children?
Watching as you run up enormous debt for overpriced medical procedures (mostly covered by insurance of course, but hey, what’s a mere 20% of $100,000 to a person on a fixed income of $15,000 a year....) when the end is in fact, inevitable. Denying you the opportunity to go when and if you are ready and forcing you to go on until your body fails you completely?
Ah, yes, that’s much better, such dignity. Laying in an ICU with tubes in your throat and arm and hoping this time they pay attention to the DNR order so you can find rest.

Wish I could say I haven’t seen it happen, but alas.

I’m with Jon.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
This seems like a good time and place to harp on one of my 3 major complaints with US healthcare. Misinformation: today there are headlines everywhere again about the "cancer vaccine". Only it’s not a cancer vaccine, the vaccine doesn’t have any direct impact on cancer, it’s an STD vaccine. Here is just one of many innaccurate quotes: "A U.S. advisory panel recommended Thursday that 11- and 12-year-old girls be routinely vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer." This came from the first line of the story on MSN Health but I don’t want to bash them. The fact is the virus only sometimes causes cancer - however the virus can also be gotten by men not just girls - the effect on both men and women is the same - it increases significantly the risk that an individual will contract AIDS and in fact when you dig into the details the vaccine against HPV was in part funded by AIDS vaccine research.... even better the vaccine is expensive because a single manufacturer’s solution is the only one currently approved and even better the cancer which it claims to prevent is the same one women recieve annual PAP Smears to detect and prevent - so what effect will this vaccine have on that current program for women who recieve it - nothing because the vaccine doesn’t protect against the cancer, just one of the risk factors for triggering the cancer. This is another case where people are adding hype to sell something (btw - I’m not against the vaccine but be honest in what it protects and btw at 11 why not vaccinate the boys against this std? (aside from cost)

How does this effect you:
"manufactured by Merck & Co., is the first vaccine to protect against HPV, known to cause most cervical cancers"
"the vaccine be included in the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines for children up to age 18 who are eligible for Medicaid, are uninsured or are Native American or Alaskan Native."
"It’s unclear whether insurance providers will pay for the cost of the vaccine — estimated to be $120"

Merck is manipulating the press and others to make alot of money off this vaccine - I think it’s great we have the vaccine but there are other similar ones coming and I bet they won’t cost as much so Merck is hitting up it’s cash cow the Federal Government while they have the chance.

My other 2 beefs are with billing practices for the uninsured vs. insured and with true availability of care vs. percieved when healthy.
 
Written By: Bill
URL: http://
Laying in an ICU with tubes in your throat and arm and hoping this time they pay attention to the DNR order so you can find rest.
Who says you have to stay in the hospital?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
In the case I can cite, it was a hospital, a good one. I’m sure she would have much preferred at home, but that wasn’t an option you know, at least, not one that was offered.
I don’t see the shame in making a decision NOT to be a burden on your family. Where’s the pride involved in that?

I do understand the danger of bastichly children trying to get pops to end it all so they can take that dream vacation in Paris, but I also have seen the flip side of a caring family who doesn’t want the parent to go, and the parent who is just ’ready’. Not everyone wants to live to be 100.
I guess it’s an opportunity for people to find out exactly what sort of family they’ve raised isn’t it?

As it stands now, we are essentially required to keep going until we stop, regardless of how we feel about it, and if/when we break down on the way to the last stop, the medical system likes to tinker frequently regardless of cost to try and help us along to the next sunrise.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I don’t see the shame in making a decision NOT to be a burden on your family. Where’s the pride involved in that?
If it’s truly your choice, I don’t see a problem. But should it really be the policy of a national health care system? The government has ways of being ... um, persuasive (can’t you just see a real "death tax" being instituted to encourage the right decison?).

In other words, it’s one thing to have an assisted suicide law, such as in OR, and quite another (IMHO) to have a government policy in favor of such practice, esepcially where that policy is based on budget analysis.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Michael - yes, agreed.
I’m in favor of a government sanctioned system.
I’m not in favor of a government mandated system.
But that doesn’t appear to be what Jon, mentioned here:
What’s wrong with euthanasia? I don’t see anything in there about it being involuntary, and I don’t see any moral grounds on which to object to voluntary end of life decisions.
Sanctioned - meaning the goverment doesn’t prosecute those who elect the option, or those who assist them.
Sure, we’re going to have to watch out for people who ’assist’ people who didn’t really want to go, but there’s certainly an opportunity to create mechanisims that adequately demonstrate the person actually DID elect to be euthanised.





 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Joe, the thing is I may have the choice to shop around for a doctor, but is that actually going to benefit me. The doctor is going to have little choice of the equipment he buys or the prices he pays for them. He can bargain for labor, but there is a point that a qualified person will not work. I can’t see the pharmaceuticals, or the equipment manufactures changing their ways. The doctors already think they’re underpaid. So there will be a limit to how much one pays for health care. My choice now is the use health care or die. I would at least know what the rationing would look like. I am not in a roll the dice situtation. I am not quite ready to hook myself up to potassion chloride, but I would like the option to have help if I needed it. I still need a better plan than you have described.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Robb!
This is actually untrue. Just because the demand outstrips the supply doesn’t make it infinite. The problem is people go to the doctor for every tiny ache and pain rather than ration their healthcare because a copay is only $20. But to say the demand is infinite is a little misleading.
I think the fact that we are all of us going to eventually sicken and expire—while none of us wants to—makes the demand for health care potentially infinite.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Is it that easy to shame someone to death? I think people pretty much have their own incentives to hang onto life unless its very low quality.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
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Written By: cxmmc
URL: http://

 
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