|This article appears in the August 7, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Cut Care to Elderly and Infants
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Obama health-care policy advisor Ezekiel Emanuel announced a "complete lives system" for selecting who should live and who should die, in an article, "Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions," published Jan. 31, 2009 in the British medical journal Lancet. Emanuel was then appointed to the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, to begin the design of a Federal health-care "reform."
When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.
Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects.
He criticizes the "lottery" selection of those to be saved, as based on the "unscientific" notion that "each person's desire to stay alive should be regarded as of the same importance and deserving the same respect as that of anyone else."
Emanuel rejects earlier charges that compared systems like his to that of the Nazis. "Ultimately," he writes, "the complete lives system does not create 'classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,' but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible."
Full text at: http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60137-9/fulltext