11.30.2009 0

ALG in the News: ‘Comparative effectiveness’ could cost you your life

  • On: 12/10/2009 09:39:03
  • In: Health Care

  • ALG Editor’s Note: In the following featured column, The Madisonville Meteor reprints Liberty Features Syndicated writer and ALG contributor Victor Morawski’s piece.

    ‘Comparative effectiveness’ could cost you your life

    by Victor Morawski

    The phrase “Comparative Effectiveness” is becoming increasingly in vogue among Obama health care advocates. So, it’s important to note that it actually amounts to little more than a euphemism for health care rationing.

    Based on comparative effectiveness research, patients will inevitably be denied life-saving medicines, services or procedures because they are not deemed to produce substantial enough benefits to justify their costs. In short, the government will decide whether your life is worth saving depending upon whether its bureaucrats deem you a productive member of society.

    And how will the bureaucrats make such life and death determinations? Probably the same way they decide whether they should take your property under eminent domain: it’s all a matter of tax revenues. Under eminent domain, the more you pay in taxes, the better the chances you have of keeping your property. Under comparative effectiveness, the more you pay, the longer you’ll be allowed to live. There is simply no other way to look at it.

    And, of course, there can be no question that it will stack the cards against the elderly as a group that consumes the largest quantity of health services and pays the lowest taxes.
    Effectiveness is all too often gauged using a standard like QALY [Quality Adjusted Life Years], which in the British NIH measures it in terms of the length and quality of life a patient can normally be expected to have following some specific medical intervention. Procedures or medicines that do not, for an elderly patient, prolong life enough or enhance its quality enough to justify their cost are thus judged to have insufficient effectiveness and may be denied.

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