Rationing of Expensive Medical Care in a Transition Country -- Nihil Novum?
Journal of Medical Ethics 2002 October; 28(5): 308-312
This article focuses on rationing of expensive medical care in the Czech Republic. It distinguishes between political and clinical decision levels and reviews the debate in the Western literature on explicit and implicit rules. The contemporary situation of the Czech health care system is considered from this perspective. Rationing reoccurred in the mid 90s after the shift in health care financing from fee-for-service to prospective budgets. The lack of explicit rules is obvious. Implicit forms of rationing, done by physicians at the clinical level prevail, implying uncontrolled power of the medical profession and lacking transparency for ethical considerations of equity to access. It seems to be acceptable for physicians to play the role of allocators, probably because of their experience with rationing during the socialist period. Traditional rationing stereotypes from the previous regime seem to persist despite the health care system transformation during the 90s.
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