Wesley J. Smith: Congress Should Ban Quality-of-Life Health-Care Rationing

(NRO) – Health-care costs are soaring, in part because the medical field is increasingly being put into harness to facilitate lifestyle and self-fulfillment desires — for example, by requiring private and public health insurance to cover expensive gender-transition procedures and follow-up care.

So the pressure is on to ration health care. If we are not careful, rationing could be wielded in an invidious manner against the very sick, elderly, disabled, and those seen as nonproductive.

A prime rationing approach in this regard is known as the “quality-adjusted life year” (QALY) scheme. It works, very roughly, like this: Let’s say John is hit in the prime of life with a serious illness and that medicine A would likely give him two more years with a good quality of life as an able-bodied man.

The cost would be $100,000. That would be worth, roughly two QALYs (less if he is elderly, but let’s not get too complicated here). CONTINUE