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Comment: Thoughts of a Middle Aged Geek (Score 1) 651

by sybarite (#31390336) Attached to: Lessons of a $618,616 Death
I rarely post to Slashdot, but feel the need to weigh in on this topic. At 40, I am at an age where I increasingly am confronted with the end-of-life issues of loved ones. I have a dear friend who at 72 has been battling cancer for a few years. I cherish the fact that he is still with us for whatever time he has left. This man is more active than I am and is a real world character from the movie "The Bucket List".

There are some gut-wrenching decisions that need to be made about when to let the inevitable take its course. I do believe this is best left to the patient and their families. I do think that it is to be expected (and okay) that the majority of health care spending is at the end of one's life. Those who choose to battle on against odds do benefit society by providing subjects for the experimental. They are the pioneers whose treatment may one day lead to either a cure or successful management of the disease. Perhaps not for themselves, but for those on down the line.

I think that this article was also an indictment of the US healthcare system. The overhead and markup is horrendous. The system engineer in me dislikes inefficiency and believes strongly in process improvement. I think we can and should do better for all of us. The challenge is obviously that there are too many constituencies and stakeholders that are unwilling to work together toward a common good as they profit mightily from the status quo. They spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt when anyone tries to change the current system. This article illustrates again to me that medical care is not market driven service, so a market-based approach to health care delivery might not be effective.

"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards

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