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Monday, August 17, 2009

POLITICS: Op-Ed: Cut Health Care Spending On The Elderly

This is from National Public Radio. - OlderMusicGeek

August 17, 2009
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, author Richard Dooling makes a radical proposal. He argues that it's time to stop spending so much money on health care for dying, elderly patients. Otherwise, he sees a generational spending gap on the horizon.

From the introduction of the NPR show:
To be clear, Richard Dooling is not talking about pulling the plug on granny. That accusation was tossed around last week in the health care debate. But Richard Dooling argues that we do spend too much money on surgery after surgery for grandma, with so much evidence of wasteful and even harmful treatment, he writes, shouldn't we instantly cut some of the money spent on exorbitant, intensive care medicine for dying elderly people and redirect it to pediatricians and obstetricians offering preventive care for children and mothers instead.

Listen to the interview

From The New York Times op-ed piece:
IN the 1980s, I worked as a respiratory therapist in intensive-care units in the Midwest, taking care of elderly, dying patients on ventilators. I remember marveling, along with the young doctors and nurses I worked with, over how many millions of dollars were spent performing insanely expensive procedures, scans and tests on patients who would never regain consciousness or leave the hospital.

When the insurance ran out, or Medicare stopped paying, patients and their families gave the hospital liens on their homes to pay for this care. Families spent their entire savings so Grandma could make yet another trip to the surgical suite on the slim-to-none chance that bypass surgery, a thoracotomy, an endoscopy or kidney dialysis might get her off the ventilator and out of the hospital in time for her 88th birthday.

The rest of the opinion piece

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