My latest column at American Issues Project is up where I write about health care rationing.
If one were to calculate the value of all the minerals and chemicals found in the human body, we’d be worth about $4.50 (add $3.50 for the 18 square feet of skin that holds it all together).
A paltry sum, to be sure. But there’s another way to calculate the worth of a human being. If one were to total up the value of all of our organs and other salable elements - what they’d fetch on the open market - our bodies would be worth considerably more. Our bone marrow alone would fetch $23 million. Our DNA would be worth a cool $9.7 million.
Our organs are pretty valuable too. Need a little extra cash? Selling your lung would net you a fast $116,000. Losing your heart would gain you $57,000.
Add it all up and you’d be quite a catch as a prospective mate. There’s $45 million in you just waiting to be mined, bottled, and sold, which is a nice number but probably won’t give you much comfort if you actually try to cash in while you’re still alive.
Then there’s another way to determine how much a human being is worth, coming soon to a hospital near you — the government way. Not surprisingly, the way the government will figure how much someone is worth is not by figuring the value of your limbs, or organs, or what Uncle Sam could get if they mined the potassium out of your carcass. They won’t calculate how much you have contributed to society in the past or how much you might contribute in the future.
And you can bet they won’t try to calculate how much you’re worth to you spouse, your kids, your family, your friends, or your community.
The government will determine how much a human being is worth by calculating how much of a drain on health care resources they will be.
Oh, but don’t worry. It will all be couched in nice, soothing language like “quality adjusted life years” or “comparative effectiveness research.” Anything but what it is; the government deciding which of us gets life saving or life extending treatment and which of us fails the tests.
Read this Eric Erickson article at Red State. These people are dead serious. I’m not sure about the cite from the bill being an accurate representation of what it is meant to be, but it matters little when creepy crawlers like Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and “Utilitarian” philosopher Peter Singer are all inferring that their idea of rationing is determining if someone’s life is “worth it” when deciding whether to give life saving treatment.
There are monetary considerations (rationing) already used by insurance companies to determine some care options. But I’d rather have some green eyeshade guy working in the private sector worried about me or my family suing the crap out of his company making that choice rather than a “bureaucrat with a slide rule.”
As always, please read the whole thing.