Thursday, June 21, 2007

Please read Arnold Kling's post regarding Michael Moore's new film "Sicko

where Dr. Kling discusses the concept of "Hail-Mary" medicine; the idea being that when someone is about to die, doctors suggest non-standard therapy in hopes that such therapy might save the patient. Kling also discusses how
"beliefs shape the health care system. My guess is that other countries believe that when someone has passed the point where reasonable, proven treatments are available, it is ok to stop throwing lots of resources at the patient and instead use those resources where they are more helpful. In the United States, this runs up against an intense belief in saving lives, an enormous faith in doctors, and a strong desire never to give up.

In this country, we have not really come to terms with the ethical issues concerning hail-Mary health care. Some people even view desperate, last-ditch measures as an entitlement. As long as we believe that, the component of our health care spending that goes for futile care will not go down."

Kling describes Michael Moore in these terms:
"Speaking at the premier, Moore was mild-mannered, witty, and self-effacing. He made a plea with the audience to reach out to conservatives and Republicans, and when this received a tepid response from his partisans, he expressed gentle disappointment."

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