Opponents of health reform tell us our non-system provides the best health care in the world and that we don’t “ration” health care.
In fact we have had economic rationing of health care for years. Arizona’s repulican governor Brewer’s denying transplants for medicaid patients is just the latest example. The Times looks at this policy of “death by budget cut.”
Effective at the beginning of October, Arizona stopped financing certain transplant operations under the state’s version of Medicaid. Many doctors say the decision amounts to a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them.
Francisco Felix, 32, a father of four who has hepatitis C and is in need of a liver, received news a few weeks ago that a family friend was dying and wanted to donate her liver to him. But the budget cuts meant he no longer qualified for a state-financed transplant.
Such high drama is unfolding regularly here as more and more of the roughly 100 people affected by the cuts are becoming known: the father of six who died before receiving a bone marrow transplant, the plumber in need of a new heart and the high school basketball coach who struggles to breathe during games at high altitudes as she awaits a lung transplant.
Medicynical Note: This is the future of the U.S. non-system of health care without reform. The facts are that we need to find ways to be more efficient, provide value in care and assure that those who can be successfully treated receive that treatment.
At present our non-system is inefficient, provides poor value (we’re #1 in the world in percapita costs by 50% or more) and have numerous people who are being denied care on economic grounds. This in what was once the most successful economy in the world.