Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: Rationing Against Prematurely Born Babies

It’s funny: The more some Obamacare supporters deny that it would lead to health care rationing, the more it is advocated among the bioethics set and in the Medical Intelligentsia. Now, there is an explicit call to deny very early premature babies life-sustaining treatment because of the cost.  From a letter to the editor published originally in the Journal of Medical Ethics:

Rationing and providing only comfort care should be considered not just at the end of life for adults, Freeman maintains, but also in instances of extremely premature births. He cites studies showing that intensive care for infants born at 22-23 weeks resulted in more than 1,700 extra days in intensive care, with less than 20 percent surviving. Of those 20 percent, less than 3 percent survived without profound impairment that required expensive interventions.

That might fly in some places, but not in America.  If you disagree, just imagine HMOs doing it.  It will be no more palatable if the refusal to try and save very premature babies came to be imposed by bureaucratic fiat. Moreover, once such babies were rationed out of treatment, it wouldn’t take long before some began to agitate for infanticide as the more humane alternative–as is now committed in the Netherlands.

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