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If you are under the impression that it is impossible to calculate the value of a human life, you are obviously not a progressive policy expert or health care bureaucrat. This calculation, so elusive for philosophers and sages throughout the millennia, is child's play for such people. They have, in fact, already devised a formula for pricing out your life. It is called the "quality-adjusted-life-year" (QALY), and it assigns a numerical value to a year of life. A year of perfect health, for example, is given a value of 1.0 while a year of sub-optimum health is rated between 0 and 1. If you are confined to a wheelchair, a year of your life might be valued at half that of your ambulatory neighbor. If you are blind or deaf, you also score low. All that remains is to assign a specific dollar value to the QALY and, voilà, your life has a price tag.
And, lest you imagine that QALY is mere academic concept unlikely to be applied in the real world, it is already being used in countries burdened with socialized medicine. In Great Britain, for example, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) uses "cost per QALY" to determine if patients should receive expensive treatment or drugs. It was with this formula that NICE calculated the precise amount six months of an average Brit's life is worth. As the Wall Street Journal reports, "NICE currently holds that, except in unusual cases, Britain cannot afford to spend more than about $22,000 to extend a life by six months." In other words, patients whose country has guaranteed them "free" health care are in some cases refused treatment because the incremental cost per additional QALY is too high.
The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is a measure of disease burden, including both the quality and the quantity of life lived. It is used in assessing the value for money of a medical intervention. The QALY model requires utility independent, risk neutral, and constant proportional tradeoff behaviour.
The QALY is based on the number of years of life that would be added by the intervention. Each year in perfect health is assigned the value of 1.0 down to a value of 0.0 for death. If the extra years would not be lived in full health, for example if the patient would lose a limb, or be blind or be confined to a wheelchair, then the extra life-years are given a value between 0 and 1 to account for this.
The assault against seniors began with the stimulus package in February. Slipped into the bill was substantial funding for comparative effectiveness research, which is generally code for limiting care based on the patient’s age. Economists are familiar with the formula, where the cost of a treatment is divided by the number of years (called QALYs, or quality-adjusted life years) that the patient is likely to benefit. In Britain, the formula leads to denying treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.
Nevertheless, Medicare is running out of money. The problem is the number of seniors compared with the smaller number of workers supporting the system with payroll taxes. To remedy the problem, the Congressional Budget Office has suggested inching up the eligibility age one month per year until it reaches age 70 in 2043, or asking wealthy seniors to pay more
...I am wondering if insurance companies in the US use this standard now.