Deadly Doctors? What It Means for Health Care & If It Will Happen
Will Obama's healthcare reforms create deadly doctors? New York Post writer Betsy Mccaughey, who coined the phrase "deadly doctors" certainly thinks so, as does Sarah Palin. Both argue that Obama's healthcare reforms will create "deadly doctors" by transferring the decision with regards to what treatment is best for patients from the hands of doctors into the hands of bureaucrats who want to save money.
In one of her most recent facebook statements, Palin even went so far as to liken Obama's healthcare plans to a death panel:
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil," Palin wrote.
But will this really happen? Sometimes it hard to make sense of the issues surrounding the healthcare debate, as the Republican and Democratic parties bicker back and forth about "deadly doctors" and the like.
So, how exactly would Obama's healthcare reforms create "deadly doctors"? Under the current private system, the doctor can select any treatment for a patient, as long as the patient can afford it or has insurance that can cover it. However, under a national healthcare system or insurance program in which the government foots the bill, certain treatments might be restricted or not funded by the government so that the government can save money. New York Post writer Betsy Mccaughey argues that this may result in "deadly doctors" who have to choose who gets what type of care based on factors like their age.
Critics of the "deadly doctors" theorum say that the debate casts a shadow over a similar problem we already face: the private healthcare system already acts as a jury of sort by making it difficult for those with lower income levels to access the health care they need.
The problem "Deadly Doctors," and with both of these rants is that they imply that the health care reform currently moving through comments would ration health care, to the point of euthanasia. What's wrong with that view is there's already such a bureaucracy in place: it's called the health care industry.
The health insurance industry already doles out and denies care every day. Instead of hyperbolic headlines like "Deadly Doctors," how about "Deadly Health Insurance Coordinators?"
However, others have pointed out "deadly doctor" situations in other national healthcare systems.In the UK's national healthcare system, cost-saving on the part of bureaucracy leads the public system to refuse patients drugs that are deemed too expensive relative to their potential effectiveness. If the treatments offered by the public system do not work for the patient and they want a drug that the public system cannot pay for, they have to turn to the private system. If this is too expensive for them, then they have no other options.
What it comes down to? The "deadly doctor" debate presents a trade-off between the number of people who can access decent care for most healthcare problems and allowing a few rare cases to access expensive treatements for free.
Attaining an efficient, equitable, and effective healthcare system will not be easy and will involve trade-offs. No system can be perfect and America's current system is definitely far from where it needs to be. However, rather than ruling out a whole health care idea by focusing on "deadly doctors", perhaps it would be possible to learn from the flaws of public systems like that in the UK. The USA might be able to implement a better health care system by taking a look at specific situations in which doctors have been become "deadly" as a result of cost-saving decisions by the bureaucracy.
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Columbia, South Carolina, United States