Is Rationing the Inevitable Consequence of Medical Advance?
ter Meulen, Ruud
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2008 March; 27(1): 71-82
The past decades have seen an impressive advance in medical technology. However, there are concerns about the growing costs of medical technology and the need to ration health care services. Some economists argue that the use of technology might be expensive now but that it would be unwise to ration technological advances as they will save money in the long-term. The author argues that increased productivity in health care does not necessarily lead to reduction of costs. In fact, it has often resulted in increased costs because such innovations made possible a widening of the indications for the treatment. Rationing of medical technology is inevitable, as further advances of technology will lead to higher pressures on the financing of the public health care system and the increased removal from the basic package of long-term care services for chronic conditions, the provision of which is an important responsibility of our society.