He says it would look like this:
“Seventy percent chance of survival for five years—five years at the outside—and even that only amounts to about 18 months in QALYs: quality-adjusted life years.”
“But without this procedure, I’ll be dead before Christmas.”
You try to keep the anger out of your voice. The last thing you want to do is offend them. But the politicians promised you—they promised everyone—there would never be panels like this. They made fun of anyone who said there would. “What do they think we’re going to do? Pull the plug on grandma?” they chuckled. The media ran news stories calling all rumors of such things “false” or “misleading.” But of course by then the media had become apologists for the state rather than watchdogs for the people.
In fact, the logic of this moment was inevitable. Once government got its fingers on the health-care system, it was only a matter of time before it took it over completely. Now there’s one limited pool of dollars while the costs are endless.
“You have the luxury of thinking only of yourself, but we have to think about everyone,” says the professor of ethics. He’s a celebrity and waxes eloquent every Tuesday and Thursday on Bill Maher Tonight. “This isn’t the free market, after all. We can’t just leave fairness to chance. We have to use reason. Is it better for society as a whole that we allocate limited resources for your operation when we might use the same dollars to bring many more high quality years to someone, say, younger?”
“I’m only 62.”
He smiles politely.
It’s a bit of a silly dramatization, really. As if they’d ever let you speak to these folks in person. That’s what letters and phone trees are for.