Providing health care to younger people offers “better value” since the elderly are “not going to live very long anyway,” contended a blogger for the liberal Slate magazine.
Prior to joining Slate in 2011, Matthew Yglesias was a fellow at the Center for American Progress, which is deeply tied to the White House and has been heavily influential in informing Obama administration policy.
Yglesias authored a blog posting on Monday titled “The Case For Death Panels, In One Chart.”
Yglesias’ piece was based on a graph that purported to show how American per capita health care spending goes from marginally higher than Germany or Sweden to much higher. The graphs show the vast majority of the spending increase takes place when Americans reach their late 60s with the costs being shifted to the public sector under Medicare.
That same day, Yglesias posted a correction to his blog piece, admitting the graph he used was “badly flawed.”
Still, his article goes on to make the case for rationing public health care for the elderly.
Writes Yglesias: “On the one hand, older people have more need for health care services which militates in favor of allocating spending to them. On the other hand, providing health care services to younger people generally offers better value in terms of years of life and quality of life saved.
“A 25-year-old who’s in a bad car accident can, if found in time and treated, still live a very happy and healthy life. If you’re 95 and get into the same car accident, then treatment is going to be much more difficult, recovery will be much less complete, and in the grand scheme of things you’re not going to live very long anyway.”
Yglesias argued that not only is health care spending on the elderly the key issue in the federal budget, “our disproportionate allocation of health care dollars to old people surely accounts for the remarkable lack of apparent cost effectiveness of the American health care system.”
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