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You Should Question a Health Care Reform Bill That Has QUALY - Quality Adjusted Life Years

President Obama's plan for reforming health care contains some surprising provisions.
One is QUALY, which stands for quality adjusted life years.
The more I hear about QUALY, the more I feel like a throw-away person.
When you first hear the term, it sounds good, and you think doctors are going to do all they can to extend your life.
That is not what the implementation of QUALY would be.
Yes, doctors would do all they can to extend your life, but their actions would be limited by government regulations.
What is QUALY? It's a mathematical formula that determines whether senior citizens receive health care or not.
The British health care system has QUALY.
"Bandolier," an independent British publication about evidence-based health care, takes exception to the formula idea.
According to the newsletter, the idea of adjusting life years was created to "combine the quantity and quality of life.
" While this sounds like a good idea, the Oxford scientists who write the newsletter -- Andrea Moore, Sheena Derry, and Maura Moore -- say QUALY is a crude measurement with serious flaws.
"QUALYs have been criticized because there is an implication that some patients will be refused or not offered treatment for the sake of other patients," they note.
A Health and Quality of Life Outcomes Website article, "Problems and Solutions in Calculating Quality-Adjusted Life Years," details complex, new formulas for determining QUALYs.
According to the article, these formulas are based on utility and time, but "quality (utility) and quantity (time) of life are of essentially different data-types and cannot be combined by a simple product of their numerical values.
" I'm a senior citizen and think portraying my life, and the lives of other seniors, as a mathematical formula is an insult.
This formula discounts the education, experience, and wisdom of senior citizens.
Seniors contribute to American society in countless ways.
Many continue to work long into their 70s.
Others volunteer in their communities.
Thousands of senior citizens like me are raising their grandchildren.
The fact that congress would be exempt from HR3200 and the QUALY provision is also an insult.
If this health care plan is so stellar, congress women and men should be on it, too.
While I can't speak for all senior citizens, I can speak for myself, and need a health care bill that: * assures my access to quality health care, * doesn't ration care, * lets me choose my doctor, * gives me insurance options, * continues Medicare and Tri-care (military) coverage, * does not call for quality adjusted life years * and provides fair reimbursement for value of service.
Mayo Clinic endorses these provisions.
According to a Rochester, Minnesota "Post-Bulletin" article, "Mayo Refocuses on Health Reform," Mayo does not support the so-called public option for health insurance.
"We do not support the creation of another government-run, government price-controlled, Medicare-like insurance plan," states Mayo.
However, Mayo Clinic is in favor of legislation that requires Americans to buy health insurance, sliding-scale subsidies for those in need, and defining a minimum health care benefit package.
QUALY is not a health care benefit, it is a health care penalty for senior citizens who worked hard and helped to make this country great.
We all get older, so say no QUALY today, for it could harm you tomorrow.
Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

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