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Health Care Allocation and Ethics

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How should scarce health resources be allocated and used? What should the balance be between expenditures and quality of life in the case of chronic and terminal illness?

1. Support your position with evidence.
2. Link medical ethics to your answer when appropriate.
3. Site the sources you used in addressing the question.

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Solution Summary

This solution provides evidence for the topic of how scarce health resources should be allocated and used, as well as what the balance should be between expenditures and quality of life in the case of chronic and terminal illness. Ethics is included in the discussion. Supplemented with one highly informative and relevant article on the U.S. health care expenditures.

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Please see my response to your question attached (also presented below). I have provided an excellent article as well. I hope this helps and take care.


"But tell me, this physician of whom you were just speaking, is he a moneymaker, an earner of fees, or a healer of the sick?"
Plato, The Republic

Costs of health care costs are skyrocketing. The health care industry costs include service in hospitals, nursing home care, long-term-care facilities, laboratory tests, physician and dental visits, prescription and nonprescription drugs, artificial limbs, optometrist visits and eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs and other equipment for the disabled, and breathing (Bi-pap and C-pap) machines. Beyond these are administrative costs for each of the above 'suppliers.' Health care in America employs about 9 million people, including about 700,000 physicians. A doctor will send the patient with a back problem for an MRI costing $2000.00 compared to just 20 years ago when, the same patient would be sent for a simple x-ray costing $100.00. Insistence on using only an MRI instead of a simple x-ray is an example of completely needless, exaggerated health care costs, which also end up precluding millions of Americans who cannot afford that MRI, from obtaining health care. The quality of life of patients, however, should not be sacrificed due to scare health resources and rising expenditures. Scholars argue that doctors exploit the dieing by making money by keeping them in the hospital rather than hospices (Boeninger, 2004). Along a similar vein, Rummans et al (2004) argues that doctors as a group perpetrate end-of-life suffering rather than ease the transition from life to death (Article available on-line http://www.mayo.edu/proceedings/2000/dec/7512sa1.pdf. Quality end-of-life care is the right of every human being and should not be compromised.

Ethical Considerations

Purely competitive markets achieve both allocative and productive efficiency, i.e., markets produce goods and services in the most efficient or least costly manner. Normally in business scenarios the equity or fairness factor plays a very minor role and efficiency, i.e., maximum production and maximum profit, play the dominant or only role. However, in health care, the ethical aspect cannot be ignored. Most rational persons ...

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