Rationing Cancer Care: A United States View
The conventional wisdom in the USA is that health care is not rationed. But all economies — communist, socialist, welfare, and capitalist — must ration. They differ only in the instruments which they employ to accomplish their objective of allocating scarce resources among competing needs. A capitalist society such as the USA which relies heavily on ‘the market’ to perform the rationing, is restrained from doing so in the case of health services because of the prevailing social ethic that holds that all individuals, irrespective of their ability to pay, must have access to essential care. Therefore, approximately 70 percent of all health care expenditure in the USA is provided by government and insurance, which contribute roughly 40 percent and 30 percent respectively.
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