In areas of the country hardest hit by COVID-19, clinicians are already being forced to make tragic rationing decisions: about who to admit to the hospital, who to transfer to the ICU and who to place on scarce ventilators. These decisions feel out of character with our national identity. We normally think of ourselves as too wealthy, too committed to preserving American lives, to ration medical care.
This may not sound like rationing on its face. But bear with me. Because when that “heartburn” turns out to be a heart attack, when that cough turns into a COVID-19 infection, delaying care to avoid out-of-pocket expenses can be deadly.
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