Remember all that fuss about how Obamacare was going the cause the government to set up “death panels” to ration care? Remember what happened? (Hint: no government death panels although insurance plans continued pre-existing systems to decide what stuff they would not cover, which works out to something quite similar but without accountability; I guess that’s capitalism, and wealthy folks get other choices, so it’s ok.)
But now, thanks to a combination of low vaccination rates and low incidence of mask-wearing, both aided and abetted the state government, Idaho is having such a big COVID spike that hospitals are flooded. So Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare is starting to ration hospital care. Looks like ‘death panels’ to me:
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Monday activated its “crisis standards of care” in 10 northern hospitals hard-hit by staff shortages, hospital bed shortages, and a “massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization,” the department announced Tuesday.
The crisis standards mean that the quality of care in those hospitals will be reduced for all patients. Resources will be rationed, and patients with the best chances of survival may be prioritized.
In practice, that could mean that: emergency medical services may prioritize which 9-1-1 calls they respond to; some people who would normally be admitted to the hospital will instead be turned away; some admitted patients may be sent home earlier than typical or may find their hospital bed in a repurposed area of the hospital, like a conference room; and, in the worst cases, hospital staff might not be able to provide an intensive care unit bed or a ventilator to a patient that has a relatively low chance of survival.
“Crisis standards of care is a last resort. It means we have exhausted our resources to the point that our healthcare systems are unable to provide the treatment and care we expect,” Dave Jeppesen, director of Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare, said in a statement. “This is a decision I was fervently hoping to avoid. The best tools we have to turn this around is for more people to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors and in outdoor crowded public places. Please choose to get vaccinated as soon as possible—it is your very best protection against being hospitalized from COVID-19.”