During the time that I have worked with the What Sorts Network, I have often asked myself the following:
Is the denial of care to persons with disabilities a necessary feature of universal healthcare or one that is entirely contingent on attitudes towards people with disabilities? If it’s a necessary feature, which system do we pick?
I was too young to be aware of the accusations leveled against Clinton’s healthcare reform, so I was interested and surprised to see that the healthcare debate in the US has turned to these questions. After reading an article this morning (False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots) and commenting there, I thought I would bring the discussion back to our blog.
I worry that the denial of care to persons with disabilities is a necessary (and extremely undesirable) feature of universal healthcare, because some type of triage appears to be necessary–people will only be willing to sink a certain amount of money into healthcare and those facing triage will disproportionately be the elderly and people with certain disabilities.
As an American living in Canada, I have seen low-income individuals in the US, more often than not minorities and other socially vulnerable groups, denied even routine care (like the setting of broken bones) because they were unable to pay for it. I have also heard the stories of Annie Farlow, Katya Sansalone, and Kyle MacDonald in Canada. I don’t have enough information to come to any sort of conclusion, so I would be very interested in what our readers think. What are your responses to my questions?