Monday, December 7, 2009

Useless Eaters . . No, Wait, “Complete Lives”

As jackbooted healthcare legislators attempt to force on us a bill that most people don’t want and that we can’t possibly pay for, we had better understand what this will likely mean.

First: The government will become your doctor.

Here’s how it will work:

You go to your doctor with symptoms a, b, and c.

After tests, your doctor or a specialist makes a diagnosis which determines what medical treatments are necessary.

The government is paying for your treatment, so the government decides which treatment you should get - if any at all.

The treatment the government decides you should get may well be based on a proposed treatment allocation idea called the Complete Lives System and devised, among others, by Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, President Obama’s Special Advisor for Health Policy.

The policy is laid out on a recent article in the Lancet. This from pages 428-429:

When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated . . . the complete lives system justifies preference to younger people . . . Additionally, the complete lives system assumes that, although life-years are equally valuable to all, justice requires the fair distribution of them.

Here’s what this means in plain language:

1. The Complete Lives System will divide Americans into those who are more worthy of treatment and those who are less worthy of treatment. Top priority will go to those between 15 and 40 (because they have the best potential for longer, healthier, and more productive lives, that is, “complete lives”).

2. The youngest and oldest will have less chance of a shot at medical treatment because, statistically, the chances of them attaining "complete lives" are much lower than among 15-40 year- olds.

3. Oh, yes, and even those lucky 15-40 year-olds who make the privileged cut might not get what they need, because “complete lives” will have to be distributed “justly” across the population.

There it is:

Living, or have great potential for a “complete” life? Between 15 and 40? The Government will likely OK necessary medical treatment (unless, of course, what should have been coming to you needs to be “justly" given to someone else).

Living, but don’t have such a great potential to get to a “complete” life? Younger than 15? Older than 40?

You are judged incomplete. You are damaged. You have little potential for attaining completeness.

Complete, you live.

Incomplete, you die.


Tim Spaulding said...

Interesting. Are you aware of other countries with socialized medicine using similar formulae for the rationing or prioritization of health care? It would not surprise me to see our government attempting to go bigger and "better" than other countries with socialized medicine--after all that's the "american way." :)

Dr. Mark Mostert said...

Hi Tim, thanks for stopping by.

The UK has such an index - for example, if you are severely visually impaired, you are rated as .86 of a complete life year, etc.

This is a terrible precedent to set for those who have medical and other disabilities, because, as I'm sure you understand, it means that officially, according to the government, you are assigned a lower (more negative) score than someone without a disability. Inevitably, this will eventually influence the population to in some way value people more or less based on their "score."

Frightening, IMO.