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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

More Media Support For Death Panels



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The mainstream media often promotes death panel rationing–even as it denies the threat is real.

Slate has published a piece by a Canadian student studying law at Yale. He extols Canadian death panels in the context of the Hassan Rasouli case, about which I have written on more than one occasion. From, “Canada Has Death Panels–and That’s a Good Thing:”

When taxpayers provide only a finite number of acute care beds in public hospitals, a patient whose life has all but ended, but whose family insists on keeping her on life support, is occupying precious space that might otherwise house a patient whose best years are still ahead

Exactly so. As I have noted, single payer health care = health care rationing. That’s one reason why its imposition after Obamacare’s implosion must be fought tooth and tong.

But the article goes badly wrong on stating that the US current system deters death panels:

The incentives in the American health care system point in the opposite direction. In the United States, keeping an all-but-dead patient alive on life support in a hospital bed generates income for the hospital, for as long as its bills get paid.

No. These days, ICUs are often a big money loser for hospitals.

Here’s why: Medicare’s DRG system (diagnosis related group) pays a hospital a lump sum for all of the patient’s care. The quicker the patient is discharged, the more money the hospital makes. 

But if he or she lingers–especially in the ICU–it’s a financial red ink black hole. Ditto, HMO capitated systems.

And that’s the kind of payment Obamacare is aiming for. In other words, death panels here we come unless we reverse course.



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