The Corner


Why We Will Never Control Health-Care Costs

On one hand bioethicists bemoan the high costs of medical care and promote health-care rationing for the elderly, seriously disabled, and dying.

On the other, they promote expanding public or insurance funding of health care to ensure that people’s desires are satisfied and to promote “social justice” — medicine harnessed in the service of hedonism, ”the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.”

For example, California requires all group insurance plans to cover fertility treatments for gays and lesbians in the same way they do biologically infertile heterosexual couples. The Obama administration promulgated a regulation so that Medicare now funds sex-change surgeries.

Now this. Advocacy has commenced in the U.K. to have the socialized NHS fund uterus transplants so that men who identify as women can give birth. From the Daily Mail story:

Transgender women who were born male should be given womb transplants so that they can have children, leading NHS doctors have told The Mail on Sunday. And fertility experts say taxpayers should fund such transplants for those who identify as women, on the basis of ‘equality enshrined in law’.

Leading the debate on the controversial procedure is medical ethics lawyer Dr Amel Alghrani, who is pressing for a talks on whether womb transplants for trans-women should be publicly funded. Dr Alghrani, of Liverpool University, also predicts that a successful programme would lead to others demanding wombs – including gay and straight men who wanted to experience ‘the joys’ of carrying a child.

This would be wrong on so many levels, ranging from safety concerns for both patient and potential future baby, the prospect of doctors and hospitals being forced to participate even if it violates their religious or moral beliefs — already beginning to happen — to the question of whether going to such extremes to satisfy individual yearnings constitutes wise public policy.

But make no mistake: Powerful political and cultural forces will be — are — pushing us hard in this direction. 

This much is sure: If the current trends continue, there is no way we will ever be able to adequately control health-care costs. 

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