New York Times: We need death panels

Glenn Beck


An op/ed that ran in the New York Times earlier this month has made a startling declaration: “We need death panels.” The claim comes from a former Obama advisor, Steven Rattner, who claims that too many Medicare resources are wasted on the elderly in their last year of life. While the Obama campaign is trying to paint the Romney campaign as enemies of the elderly for wanting to reform Medicare and Medicaid, should they be paying closer attention to the people Obama ahas surrounded himself with?

Rattner writes:

Medicare needs to take a cue from Willie Sutton, who reportedly said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was. The big money in Medicare is not to be found in Mr. Ryan’s competition or Mr. Obama’s innovation, but in reducing the cost of treating people in the last year of life, which consumes more than a quarter of the program’s budget.

No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have systems for rationing care.

“It is death panels.  Whether you want to call it that or not,” Glenn said. “The problem with it – the reason why it becomes a death panel –  because who decides who lives and dies?  Who decides?”…

The article continues at

Update: How an ACO will affect the relationship between a doctor and a patient

…ACOs [Accountable Care Oganizations] would fundamentally change how Massachusetts healthcare providers are allowed to organize their businesses and how insurers will be limited in the insurance-product choices allowed to patients. Instead of accepting fee for service, these new large, integrated systems will be paid a predetermined amount for each patient under care. Medical providers would increasingly be asked to take on the role of insurance company. If they keep costs down, they will be rewarded, but if they exceed the budget, they will have to cover those excess costs out of their own pocket, actually paying to provide medical treatment. “Medical provider as sub-insurance entity, taking on financial risk”: I don’t recall that role from medical school or from the Hippocratic Oath.

Doctors, previously in compact with a patient together battling a disease, now will be held accountable for group-related “outcomes”. Rather than being rewarded for success in diagnosis, they may be punished falling short of metrics (as yet to be determined: by a state, a commission, or a consortium)…


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