I was away and completely off the grid when President Obama made his health care pitch. But several people sent me e-mails questioning whether he pushed futile care theory as a method of cost containment and health care reform. As usual with our president, it is hard to tell exactly what he wants as he tends to speak in overly broad generalities or take both sides of an issue at the same time. Here is the report from the LA Times:
President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don’t stand to gain from the extra care. In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don’t unthinkingly approve “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.” He added: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”
It all depends on who gets to decide, doesn’t it? If people are to be educated about these matters, it is one thing. If they are going to be coerced, as in Futile Care Theory and rationing, it is quite another. The devil will truly be in the details—especially with this president.
By the way, this isn’t the first time Obama has a point about end-of-life care that is similarly wide-open to interpretation—as dutifully reported here at SHS.