Sunday, November 22, 2009

Death Panels

Look, any medical system that has to figure out how to ration services will have to feature something that resembles what has been called 'death panels'. How they function and who is in charge of them will be a giant political issue. As a simple example, I have a personal view that chiropractic services should not be covered by any public system, as the basic claims of their 'science' are known to be bogus.
Meanwhile, hysteria has broken out in the US over a recommendation that suggests mammograms be started later as a routine. Much of the commentary suggests that this is anti-customer, but Mark Chu-Carroll has a story that suggests it is not so simple. It is a difficult optimization problem.
Disclosure: I am connected to someone whose mammogram in her 40s was very important and helpful. I still believe the concerns related in MarkCC's post.As he says, on a slightly different topic:
If we started doing colonoscopies at 30 instead of the current recommendation of 50, we'd save some people from dying of colon cancer. But we'd also hurt a whole lot of people without colon cancer. So we don't do it.


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