You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?“Why We Must Ration Healthcare” – Peter Singer, New York Times
The problem with Singer’s opening statement is by putting government in control of healthcare you aren’t making that decision – THEY are.
Rationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for from the public purse. If we ration we won’t be writing blank checks to pharmaceutical companies for their patented drugs, nor paying for whatever procedures doctors choose to recommend. When public funds subsidize health care or provide it directly, it is crazy not to try to get value for money.
This flies in the face of arguments about expanding access to care – it argues that there’s not enough care to go around, so the government will have to make decisions on what is the best bang for buck and whom to DENY care because, well, there’s not enough to go around.
If the government is going to get into the business of doing something – health care, utilities, etc. – then it has a moral obligation to do it right. This argument? This isn’t right.