Sunday, July 19, 2009

The mandates we have

In today's NY Times Magazine, Peter Singer argues "Why We Must Ration Health Care." Part of the article knocks down a straw man because "rationing" has been misunderstood and misapplied by some in the health care debates. In light of scarcity, ration we must. The only question is how. Singer recommends the Australian way. Adapting it to the US would include what he calls Medicare for All, but with the option of better coverage purchased on the open market by those who choose to opt out. Medicare for All would include rationing based on cost-benefit assessments using quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) as the guide.

Who can object? The National Conference of State Legislatures offers this tour of health care currently mandated among the 50 states. The mandates we have are a pretty good clue as to the mandates we will get with a Singer-type proposal. That's the problem.