'Health rationing' is slippery slope

Yes, we spend too much during the final weeks of life.

I have read the Cost of Dying series by Lisa Krieger. In her last column she covers the "Cures" for end-of-life care. I heartily embrace all of them, except for "Cure 5: Avoid costly care that won't prolong or improve life" and its call for rationing.

I refer to her example of a $100,000 heart pump and that three out of four recipients die within two years. If you were one of those three, an extra two years may give you time to see a grandchild marry or be there for the birth of a great-grandchild. What if you were the one in four who survives even longer?

We need to be careful with health rationing. Who gets to decide who lives and who dies over this $100,000 expense?

This issue is treated too lightly for my taste. It could become a very slippery slope.

Let's keep the focus on educating people about the costs to their dignity and comfort, and their families' well-being when making these end-of-life decisions. This alone could significantly reduce costs.

Jean Tapia

Martinez

Don't see value in extending life

At 83, I do not see the value in spending a fortune to give me six more months of life.

But, with the advance of hospice care, we can all be provided for during our last months. I do think this has been a learning process.


Advertisement

John E. McCue

Long Beach

We are spending far too much on dying

Yes, we are spending too much during the final weeks of life, and I think referring to it as "health care" points to a big part of the problem. Two causes for this overspending are as follows:

One cause is society's general acceptance of the conventional paradigm that proclaims being alive is precious beyond all else. The corollary to this is: That which ends one's being alive, namely death, is to be treated as an enemy.

Thus, the medical industry receives sufficient support for its battling to prevent, or more accurately postpone, death from occurring. The battling may often occur with questionable consideration for how it affects the quality of life.

Instead of viewing death as an inevitable and crucial stage in the cycle of life, it is disrespected, and a perverse waste of resources, used for keeping one "alive," ensues.

The second cause is that those earning their living by participating in this war on dying are naturally prompted by self-interest to offer strong support for the status quo.

Ron Greenstein

El Cerrito

Health condition a consideration

We are wasting money and time on keeping people alive in their last few weeks. I am referring to those who suffer pain and agony with every breath they take, while living with an incurable disease or condition.

The medical establishment has found a gold mine in tubes for feeding and breathing for people who normally would have passed away.

If I had a choice, I would prefer spending my last few weeks or months at home. I think sick people should be given a choice of where and how their life will end.

Eight years ago, I spent five days in a hospital being taken care of by people who really could care less about me as a human. They were just doing their job and I was nothing more than a way to earn their paycheck.

Al Paltin

Orinda

Cost a responsibility that we abdicate

As long as each of us, individually, is freely choosing and paying for the health care we want in our final days, then, yes, we're spending the right amount.

Unfortunately, Americans keep abdicating their right to choose much of anything, since they prefer, and vote, to have politicians make those choices for them.

So no one knows whether we're spending too much or too little because, individually, we aren't responsible for the costs we incur.

To assure that we're spending the right amount on any kind of health care, we need to revamp Obamacare so that insurance companies have complete freedom to offer the various types of insurance individuals are willing to pay for, including different levels of end of life coverage.

Each of us can then match our priorities and our pocketbooks to the insurance plan and premium that is best for us and that each can afford.

As long as the politicians dictate our health care system to us, we will not be free to make the right choices.

Dick Patterson

El Cerrito

Spending too much money on foreign aid

First of all, who is "we"?

And second, here's a question: Are we spending too much money on foreign aid, and giving money to countries that act like they like us but despise us?

Jerry Collins

Antioch

Only God knows about final days

Regardless of age, who knows when an individuals's final weeks of life are?

It's just human nature to spend all you can afford to get well. For only God knows an individual's final weeks of life.

Rudolph Jimenez

Newark