Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rationing: the debate is back on the table

Driving home tonight, as usual, I was listening to NPR. This time, the voice on the radio was honestly confronting the controversial topic of rationing – specifically, rationing in England. In recent evaluation of palliative care and end-of-life care around the world, England was ranked #1 – and as a result many countries healthcare leaders have visited the UK to learn from them. One of these countries was the United States – and as pointed in in Public Radio International (PRI) – this dialogue between England and the US was stopped after controversy about the “death panels” hit the front pages.

Around that time, Time Magazine published a story putting the pricetag on life – adding to the controversy.

More recently, in April of 2010, PBS hosted a debate on the topic featuring Ira Byock, Physician and Director of Palliative Care at Dartmouth-Hitchock Medical Center, Ken Connor, Lawyer and Chair of the Center for a Just Society, who represented Jeb Bush in Terri Shaivo’s case, and Marie Hillard, Nurse and Director of Bioesthics and Public Policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

PRI has put this story back on the news – and given our place in healthcare, we cannot hide from the controversy as inevitably, in one way or another, we live smack-dab in the middle of it all. Our views on this topic also differ – and so I invite a discussion here.

Note: PRI has created a series about healthcare rationing in England, South Africa, Zambia, and India. Additionally – for all you TweetChatters: @PRITheWorld, @SheriFink and @dhbaron are also hosting another tweetchat on Thursday 1pm EST with the hashtag #rationinghealth.

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