Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quality adjusted life years

The following is from an article in the Wall Street Journal:

The assault against seniors began with the stimulus package in February. Slipped into the bill was substantial funding for comparative effectiveness research, which is generally code for limiting care based on the patient’s age. Economists are familiar with the formula, where the cost of a treatment is divided by the number of years (called QALYs, or quality-adjusted life years) that the patient is likely to benefit. In Britain, the formula leads to denying treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.

When comparative effectiveness research appeared in the stimulus bill, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., (R., La.) a heart surgeon, warned that it would lead to “denying seniors and the disabled lifesaving care.” He and Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) proposed amendments to no avail that would have barred the federal government from using the research to eliminate treatments for the elderly or deny care based on age.

If you are a senior citizen or have loved ones who are or will one day be senior citizens, you owe it to them to read this entire article.

1 comment:

professor ed said...

It appears to me that "universal health care" will, if actually imposed, be /selective universal health care. As at least one, or more, politicians have stated that health care should be for the healthy. Thus if a baby is likely to be born with a diagnosed "impediment", universal health care will not cover that birth; to bad. If a citizen develops cancer in his/her 60s, sign up on the waiting list and will get to you when and if your worth spending limited resources on.
In my opinion you cannot truly have "universal" health care, when rationing of that health care is inevitable due to costs.
As an aging baby boomer, I deeply resent the universal health care plans currently under serious consideration. I sincerely hope my fellow baby boomers still have enough political clout.