An Honest Discussion of "Appropriate" Care

At a time when the cost of health care represents nearly one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product, it is reasonable and necessary to discuss the notion of “appropriate care.” But a fair and conscientious examination of what measures, personnel and technologies should be employed to diagnose and treat medical problems must get past such inflammatory terms as “death panel,” “rationed care” and “tort reform” (that is, malpractice lawsuits). That kind of language does not advance or inform the discussion.

A recent commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine grappled with the topic, and the breadth of comments by its readers indicated how all of us – providers and consumers – must drive meaningful health-care reform.

Victor R. Fuchs, Ph.D., is an economist affiliated with Stanford University and an expert on health policy. His commentary, “The Doctor’s Dilemma – What Is ‘Appropriate’ Care?”, discusses the difference between what is “ethical” and what is “appropriate.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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