Medical technology

Herman Rubin hrubin at
Sun May 31 13:31:58 EST 1992

In article <1992May31.104031.18646 at> allens at (Allen Smith) writes:
>In article <9205282308.AA18139 at>, french at RUST.ZSO.DEC.COM writes

>> In reply to <9205282107.AA23251 at> by
>> Gerald M. Phillips (Professor Emeritus)

>> Is it morale for society to make available an unlimited amount
>> of expensive medical technology?   This is akin to offering an alcohaulic
>> a drink to console his depression.  As humans, we crave to care for the
>> elderly,  but doing so often reduces the overall quality of life for
>> everyone involved.

Making something available is quite different from either providing it
essentially free for everyone or insisting that those with funds pay for
it and use it.  Yachts are available, and yet I have no desire to spend
the money to buy one.  I would not use tax money to provide them, nor 
would I insist that every person with the money to buy one do so.

>        Let's let the elderly pay for such technology if they can afford
>it. Don't offer the alcoholic a drink; let him decide to use it and pay
>for it.

>> A good example is my grandfather.  We sold the family farm to pay
>> for his medical expenses.  And for what?  Due to Alzheimers disease, he
>> could not recognize us.  He couldn't even recognize himself!  Now the
>> farm that I grew up on, the place where my fondest memories came from,
>> is gone and neither I nor my son will ever be able to enjoy it again.
>> How did this improve the quality of life?

This has nothing to do with technology.  There is little which can be done
for Alzheimer's patients now which could not be done at least 50 years ago.
And this 100% income and property tax before public assistance comes in 
for medical care is a political problem, and should be treated as one.
We must recognize that all eligibility rules are taxes, and should be
treated as taxes, not as reasonable restrictions on availability.
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
Phone: (317)494-6054
hrubin at (Internet, bitnet)  

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