Senile and too stupid to choose

  • by: |
  • 05/09/2006

Remember all those whiners who said seniors were too old and stupid to choose a drug plan? Now they’re attacking consumer-directed plans and the effort to give people more information on choices — like price and quality. The reason: too much information will overwhelm most of us because we — unlike the health care gods at the Kaiser and Commonwealth Foundation — are too slow and stupid to make intelligent choices. Here’s one of the leaders of the Too Stupid to Choose Coalition, Drew Altman, on the subject of consumer choice:

“It’s not about whether consumers should shop for health care like plasma TVs,” says Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s about two fundamentally different approaches to health care: comprehensive and less comprehensive with high-deductible plans. Which does America want?”

Gee Drew, I guess all health plans are the same with no difference in outcomes, service, cost, etc? Maybe health care isn’t like plasma TVs but it’s obvious you think it should be more like the current black box you want us to shut up and accept. As for the canard that people scared about dying not being able to make a rational decision…where does that happen in real life? In the extreme, hospitals are being judged by how well they treat acute stroke and cardiac arrest and the data is being made available to insurers and consumers. Iin the main, treatment of chronic illness or surgery, people do have the time to make a choice. That goes - heaven forbid — even in the treatment of cancer or other life threatening illnesses. The people I know who struggle with such illnesses are searching for more information to make the best choice possible. But Mr. Altman and his coalition think people are too incompetent to make these choices or that they don’t matter.

And as for seniors, they certainly know how to make a good choice. Just ask them on Election Day.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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