Although managed health care is a hot topic, too few discussions focus on health care rationing—who lives and who dies, death versus dollars. In this book, physician and bioethicist Peter A. Ubel argues that physicians, health insurance companies, managed care organizations, and governments need to consider the cost-effectiveness of many new health care technologies. In particular, they need to think about how best to ration health care. Ubel believes that standard medical training should provide physicians with the expertise to decide when to withhold health care from patients. He discusses the moral questions raised by this position, and by health care rationing in general. He incorporates ethical arguments about the appropriate role of cost-effectiveness analysis in health care rationing, empirical research about how the general public wants to ration care, and clinical insights based on his practice of general internal medicine. Straddling the fields of ethics, economics, research psychology, and clinical medicine, he moves the debate forward from whether to ration to how to ration. The discussion is enlivened by actual case studies.
—Alfred I. Tauber, MD, Center for Philosophy and History of Science,Boston University