Do we ration healthcare in America?Do We Ration Healthcare Today?
America does not have a surplus of doctors and medical equipment. Consequently, by definition, we ration healthcare. If you doubt that, ask yourself if you’ve ever had to wait in an ER or make an appointment in the future because your doctor couldn’t see you right now. That’s rationing.
All nations are in a similar position. There is a greater demand for health services than capacity. Consequently, rationing is universal. The only question is how we choose to ration our limited supply.
How Do We Ration?
What makes us different is not whether we ration healthcare, but how.
Most nations prioritize care according to need. The sickest people go to the front of the line.
In America, we prioritize care based on wealth. Those with the most money go to the front of the line.
How Should We Ration?
If you like being alive, then the first step should be minimizing the need to ration at all. We should adopt policies like paying medical educational expenses to get more doctors, nurses and related staff to increase the amount of available care.
If you’re wealthy the current system is your best bet.
If you’re an average employed and insured person, you’d probably see no difference either way.
If you’re poor or uninsured, care based on need rather than income would drastically improve your outcomes.
What Our Decision Tells Us.
What we choose says nothing about those whose insurance we change or retain. It does, however, say a great deal about us.
If we have a system where the poor are denied access to quality care, that says nothing about the poor. It reveals that we feel the poor are less valuable human beings.
If we have a system where the wealthy are not treated preferentially because of their money, that says nothing about the wealthy. It reveals that we believe all humans are created equal.