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Bill Gates on Limiting End-of-Life Treatment to Save Public Education

Posted Sep 14 2010 9:28am
In July, Bill Gates spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival.  The full video  is here .  The excerpt below is a clip where Gates says that we must examine the tradeoffs that we are already now making between end-of-life care (billed to Medicaid and Medicare) and other public goods like primary and university education.  We are spending increasingly more on the former, says Gates, at the expense of the latter.

“The access that used to be available for the middle class is just rapidly going away,” Gates said. “That's a trade-off that society is making because of very, very high medical costs.”  The country has demonstrated an unwillingness to question if “spending $1 million on the last three months” of a person's life is a cost-effective direction, especially considering the same amount of money can keep 10 teachers employed. Gates called for the nation to do a better job of examining the benefits of costly end-of-life medical care.  “That's called the death panel and you're not supposed to have that discussion.”

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