Why spend billions of health care dollars to prevent inevitable death?

The case for letting people die outside the hospital

As Obama battles to make health care more accessible, there seems to be an easy—albeit somewhat taboo—way to stretch taxpayer dollars further: let people die outside of the hospital. Currently, $135 billion, or 12 per cent, of U.S. health care dollars are spent on end-of-life care, and 40 per cent of Medicare dollars are spent on the last month of life. But as Salon writer Anne Moore argues, it’s not doctors or nurses who are to blame. If physicians limit care, they could be sued. Instead, she says, the onus is on us to “Say no to feeding tubes, ventilators, resuscitators, the isolation of ICU.”


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