The Necessity (and Difficulty) of Rationing

By Emily Tiry, Staff Editor

The Institute of Medicine recently recommended that the federal government explicitly include cost in the criteria for deciding which health benefits must be covered by insurance plans under the new health care law. This is an essential step if we want to slow the growth in health care costs, but whether its implementation is politically feasible is questionable. In light of the uproar over the new mammogram recommendations in 2009, as well as what will probably be a similar reaction to the new prostate screening recommendations, the public is not yet willing to accept that rationing is unavoidable if we also want to control costs. Given that health care can be an emotional issue for many people, convincing them of this will be a difficult but necessary task.

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