Dr. Schneiderman on Rationing Medical Care
Lawrence J. Schneiderman, MD, professor emeritus, Medicine/Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), discusses preparing doctors for the fact that medical care will have to be rationed in the future.
Schneiderman says there is always going to be a greater demand for medicine than will be available. Since there is little help from Congress, Schneiderman says, physicians need to start thinking about where and how to reduce the amount of money spent on medical care due to soaring costs.
Currently, there is no good system for determining who gets procedures such as heart and kidney transplants. There is a system that lists eligible patients but patients who have the money to pay for the procedure move up on the list. When considering future rationing, Schneiderman suggests physicians should determine who get life-sustaining treatment as a guaranteed access and who should get function-comfort treatment as a decent minimum. This way, everyone will get at least decent medical care, Schneiderman says.