Healthcare Part IX: The Decision is Yours

There is a growing debate about the future of the US healthcare system and the possible of universal care. Hillary Clinton is about to make some major new proposals early next week.

If we were to adopt some sort of federal universal healthcare the system would inevitably be some sort of “managed care,” and that will inevitably lead to some form of soft or hard rationing.

Public policy geeks and economists tend to look at this from a macro view, but how would this impact real people with real health care issues?

Decision case:

Joe is 67 and retired. He spent most of his life as a carpet layer and tile installer, both of which are hard on the knees.

Joe has no cartilage (meniscus) in his right knee, which causes bone-on-bone rubbing with movement and considerable pain. The pain cannot be controlled by medication or injections. Joe’s left knee is not as bad but headed in the same direction. Joe is otherwise in good health.

Joe is not disabled in a vocational sense because he is retired. He is disabled in the sense of qualifying for the disability parking sticker and having limitations on his ADL (activities of daily living).

Joe would get considerable pain relief and increased mobility from a total knee replacement.

In our universal system, is this a necessary surgery or a low priority elective surgery? You decide.