Friday, August 14, 2009

End-of-life healthcare

I recently went over the medical and billing records of an elderly lady. She was in fairly poor health, living in a nursing home, recovering from open heart surgery, when she had some complications and was admitted to the hospital. Three or four weeks later she died. Cost of healthcare for those weeks?
Over $800,000.
That's right. Close to a million bucks.
And it wasn't her money. In any case like this, you and I end up paying for it, either through insurance or taxes. And cases like this are quite common.
Thoughts on solutions?

3 comments:

JorgenMan said...

Situations like this are so hard. People always want to say, "You can't put a price on human life," but really, you have to. That $800,000 could have fed a lot of starving kids. Or immunized them.

Now, if this is paid for through insurance, I don't think anyone can really complain. If it's part of her policy, then she's getting what she paid for.

On the other hand, I'm afraid I'd have to complain if people's taxes were paying for this. I set myself up for criticism with a viewpoint like that, but there are limited resources in the world, and so many needy people.

Tim said...

If it's part of my insurance policy, I'm complaining. Seriously.

Tim said...

And I agree. Some form of rationing is necessary. We have the technology to keep people alive for a long time (even if their lives no longer have much meaning). However, we do not have the resources to do that.