Monday, February 11, 2008

How we ration health care in America

In civilized countries, health care is rationed according to need. If you need, say, a knee replacement, you'll probably wait around for seven or eight months before it gets done, but because this is not a life-threatening disease that's just how it goes. If you have a life-threatening illness, on the other hand, you immediately jump to the front of the queue.

In the United States, health care is rationed according to your family income and insurance status. If you need, say, a knee replacement, and you have money and insurance, you immediately jump to the front of the queue. If you need a heart-lung replacement due to chemotherapy killing your lungs, well, you'll get the first one but then your insurance will be dropped and you will be sent home to die.

That is how it is here in America. We allow people to die, so that people not in danger of dying but with lots of money can jump to the front of the line. We ration health care, just like all nations. But the way we ration health care is so heartless, so brutal, that no civilized person could support it.

But then, the number of civilized people in America has never been particularly large...

-- Badtux the big-hearted Penguin


  1. Well, I'm not really trying to stay alive so I don't go to doctors, and to die at home is fine with me.

    See, I'm saving your tax paying butt a little money. Death really isn't a concept to an omnipresent spirit.

  2. Jebus must want it done Murka's way or he wouldn't have let the Founding Fathers set it up that way in the Constitution.

  3. Unfortunately most people don't and wont think the way that you do. I do, but me, you and the 6 other people who may believe in Universal Health Care, wont be able to help your cause. Not even if Hilary should get in.

    Most people believe their health coverage should be determined by a cash making corporation rather than by people who have no profit to gain.

    Harry and Louise still live.

  4. I spent nearly a year without insurance because I simply had "too many pre-existing conditions," according to the insurance bean counters. However, you mention any form of universal healthcare system and people go into a froth about how "socialized" medicine doesn't work. I'm fairly certain under socialized medicine, I could have at least got in to see a doctor.

  5. I'm Canadian...

    Took me 4 months before I could see an orthopaedic surgeon and now he tells that I should be getting a brand-new knee in about 3 months... and our Health Care System is supposed to be better than yours.....

  6. Right. Like I said, the Canadian system rations care, but it rations it by need. You will get your knee replacement, but you will need to wait 7 or 8 months for it because people with life-threatening conditions are ahead of you and a busted knee merely makes life miserable.

    The United States, on the other hand, rations care according to your pocket book. In the United States your wait would either be a couple of weeks, or the rest of your life -- i.e., for close to 50 million Americans who don't have money in their wallets, they would *never* get that knee replacement. Which if you're talking knee replacement may not be a big deal. But let's say you were talking, say, heart surgery to replace a valve that has developed a leak. In Canada, assuming that it is life-threatening, you would get that surgery in a couple of weeks max. In the United States, you would get that surgery in a couple of weeks max... *IF* you had money in your wallet. Otherwise... well, if you're one of the 40 million Americans without the money, you would be sent home to die.

    Now: Is this a moral way to do health care rationing?

    - Badtux the Morality Penguin

  7. Curious -- in polls, *EIGHTY PERCENT* of Americans support universal health care. *EIGHTY PERCENT*. Now, tell me that Americans want private for-profit moneymen determining their health care again? Pull the other flipper, dude!

    The only question is, why hasn't it happened? This is just another example of something that would happen if the United States was a democracy rather than an oligarchy. The oligarchs who rule us have health care. Us peons... well, why should they care?

    - Badtux the Poll Penguin


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