Opponents of the socialization of healthcare here in America are focusing on the details without grasping the major cost savings that are inherent in the program.
Doctor Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of the White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel (a man who was specifically chosen for his enormous empathy), has proposed that the United States adopt a plan similar to that used in England to determine a person’s QALY, or Quality Adjusted Life Year.
Until now, a great deal of the opposition to Obamacare has swirled around this QALY concept. Sarah Palin referred to “death panels” in speaking of it, and as the mother of a special needs child, her concerns were well founded, but again, too narrow in focus and ignoring the enormous potentials for cost savings throughout the whole economy.
Proponents of the QALY system have done the President a disservice in not pointing out the multitude of other applications of this system which do not impact healthcare at all, or at least not directly.
Once Obama achieves the nirvana-like situation where all medical records are on-line and accessible to any busybody with an internet connection, just think of the other potential cost savings that can be achieved. In addition to denying expensive drugs, hospital care, surgery and other (to use Senator Chuck Shumer’s classic phrasing) “porky” little things, when used in conjunction with the QALY system, we can nip other spending in the bud.
Consider the enormous waste of money connected with the purchase of ambulances by municipalities all over America. Before dispatching an ambulance for the person who was calling 9-1-1 because they were having a heart attack, or they’ve fallen and broken their hip, we could have the emergency responders link to the on-line QALY site, and find the caller’s QALY score. If they only had a QALY score of say 50 (on a scale of 0 to 1,000), we wouldn’t have to send an ambulance on a trip at all. No point in it. The caller wouldn’t be getting any healthcare anyway, so not only could we reduce the number of ambulances needed by the collective, er, community, we’d be saving the planet by reducing the CO2 emissions that a trip to pick up the distressed person would cause! How much better could it get? I mean, save money, save the planet, and reduce the surplus population! Three wins for the price of one.
The QALY score could also be used the next time someone, who has a somewhat higher QALY score because they are an active environmentalist who loves the great outdoors, finds themselves lost in those great outdoors and fails to return from a hike. With the benefit of the QALY information, the health care czar (or as Obama’s staff would prefer, the Special Advisor to the President) could make a rational, informed and objective decision whether the collective, er, community, should waste time, money and effort in trying to find this lost soul. After all, if their QALY score doesn’t measure up, well, the bears have to eat, too, don’t they? Again, a win-win-win!
Food stamps, welfare, Social Security, any and all transfer payments could be re-evaluated using the QALY system to great benefit. Why pay for food, for instance, for those who have little or no value to the collective? Why pay for welfare for those who haven’t made a contribution to the collective?
Yes, my friends, the QALY system is the best thing to be proposed for this country since, well, since Hillarycare!
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there are some wrinkles to work out in the implementation of the QALY system. Obviously the most pressing is systematizing the way we will assign values to subjective criteria. Even I have to concede that “quality” is not something that is particularly easy to quantify. After all, none of us goes into the grocery store to pick up ten pounds of quality, do we?
So we will undoubtedly assign values to a variety of factors, and the cumulative total of all those assigned values will be your QALY score.
Let’s assume that the zero to 1,000 scoring system is valid, just for the sake of illustration. As a fetus, you have a QALY score of minus 25. As a fetus you are unable to make any contribution to the collective, yet you will require medical care. So you start off in the hole, vis-à-vis the QALY score. But as a child grows, and acquires more education, points are added at a rate of 10 per year of schooling completed. If the schooling takes place at the Sidwell Friends School, or some other prestigious educational institution, you earn 25 points per year, since the value of a child who passes through such schools is so much higher than one that passes through P.S. 198 in the Bronx.
So by the time a child gets out of high school, he or she would have a QALY score of 120. Or in the case of a child that went to Sidwell Friends, and then Andover Academy, a score of 300.
College would similarly add to your QALY score, and post-graduate work would add still more, again adjusted for what school was attended. I mean, seriously, don’t you agree that an education at Yale or Harvard is worth a lot more than, say, the University of Idaho?
As we age, there would be a reduction of QALY by 10 points for each year of life, until age 50, then the reduction would increase to 15 points per year. At 65 the reduction rate would become 20 points for each year of life.
But there would also be special adjustments that could be made by the health-care czar that would be based on the life experiences of the individual, for instance:
Member of a Union ……………….. 50 Extra Points
Trial Attorney………………………. 150 Extra Points
Democrat Contributor……………… 75 Extra Points
Member of ACORN……………….. 500 Extra Points
Member of APOLLO ALLIANCE…. 500 Extra Points
Member of Congress………………. 500 Extra Points
White House Staff …………………. 500 Extra Points
Military Veteran…………………….. 75 Point Penalty
Republican Contributor……………. 150 Point Penalty
Rush Limbaugh Listener………….. 750 Point Penalty
Past member of the Weather Underground – PRICELESS!!
Please keep in mind that this list is certainly not all inclusive. I feel confident as the QALY system evolves, the criteria for adjusting QALY points will become much more expansive as the health-care czar determines what behaviors are counter-revolutionary, er, less than desirable.
So you see, the government can, and will make rational, objective determinations about how to evaluate a human life. You can now rest easier knowing that your government will always take care of you by the amount they think that you deserve.