ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

A Matter Of Opinion

Letter: Longer lives cost more

Froma Harrop’s column in the Spokesman (“Preventive care doesn’t save money,” July 18) is an intelligent commentary on an aspect of medicine too often ignored. Preventive care is good, but keeping a septuagenarian alive till age 90, or even 80, is expensive.

As an elderly recipient of heart surgery, I know hospitals cost a lot. Though glad for extra years of life, I realize senior citizens have a personal responsibility to keep costs down. I visit doctors sparingly, take generic medicines and learn to live with arthritis and macular degeneration. Disciplined exercise at home and sensible eating habits cost less than physiotherapy and diet foods. I update my living will about what not to do in prolonging unacceptable disability. — Keith Dahlberg, M.D., Kellogg (Full letter here.)

While Harrop and Dahlberg are correct in their facts — living longer does end up costing more — I wonder if that fact can be talked about merely as a fact that must be dealt with in addressing health care costs. To me, it seems like the conversation would naturally and quickly devolve into pressuring people to die sooner, especially when their age brings on expensive disabilities.

Sometimes, as Dahlberg points out, personal wellness measures can reduce costs and living wills can prevent expensive “extraordinary measures,” but individuals can still become highly functioning but costly patients through no fault of their own. Can health care reform be talked about without “going there”?


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to A Matter Of Opinion

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of many opinions — those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review ... and yours. Check in regularly to follow the discussion and help keep it lively.

Joust offline!

We welcome letters to the editor (all are subject to editing). Letters can be sent to:

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here