This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition, Atul Gawande was interviewed to explain the difference between Rationing Care and Rational Care. He gave a nice, clear, straightforward explanation that Health Reform will never be about rationing. Rather, providers and patients need to make educated, joint decisions (the art of medicine) regarding rational care. He proceeded to explain that Health Reform is necessary. That continuing ‘as is’ will lead us to an essential meltdown with Medicare going bankrupt very shortly. He also spoke of our country’s need for more Geriatricians and Gerontologic Nurses–that regardless of the 4-5 year expected time to transition our current uninsured patients into the new health system, that our elderly population (most of whom will have Medicare) is expected to double and we don’t have the existing capacity in workforce to accomodate everyone.
What I always find remarkable about Gawande’s writing and interviews is his ability to translate issues into easily-understood language. He helps to clear the air of the voluminous mis-applied, mis-defined, mis-used language that is out in the public and press.