Review: Legality of and challenges to rationing medical resources (Part 2)

Review: Legality of and challenges to rationing medical resources (Part 2)

Part 2 of this panel discussion with law and bioethics experts focuses on the intersection of disability rights and the rationing medical resources.

Key discussion points include:

  • Existing federal laws protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of disability, as well as several other factors (e.g., age, race, national origin).
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public services (such as state-owned hospitals) or public accommodations (including hospitals).
  • Discrimination under the ADA includes denying individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to benefit from public accommodation.
  • Discrimination under the ADA also includes a failure to make individualized accommodations and reasonable modifications to ensure equal access.
  • Rationing policies that save more lives will also save more lives of persons with disabilities as a whole.
  • Rationing policies that emphasize quality of life may disadvantage persons with disabilities due to existing biases.
  • Prioritization should include frontline health care workers because their absence due to illness will result in further resource scarcity to the detriment of population health.
  • First-come, first-served policies may disadvantage persons with barriers to accessing health care facilities.
  • Prioritization should respond to changes in the best available scientific evidence.
  • Patients with COVID-19 should neither be favored nor disfavored relative to other patients in access to scarce resources.
  • Rationing decisions should be based on the ability of the resource to help the patient to survive the present condition, rather than on the basis of a distinct pre-existing condition or disability.
  • Rationing policies that exclude or deprioritize persons on the basis of a pre-existing disability, including those using judgements of quality of life or long-term life expectancy potentially influenced by embedded biases, may be legally invalid.
|2020-04-03T07:05:44-04:00April 2nd, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Legality of and challenges to rationing medical resources (Part 2)

About the Author: Daniel Orenstein

Daniel Orenstein
Daniel G. Orenstein, JD, MPH, is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He teaches in the areas of administrative law, public health law, and health care law and policy. His research focuses on public health law, policy, and ethics, and he was previously Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law Western Region, where much of his work centered on emergency preparedness and response, including resource allocation and government authority during declared emergencies, as well as vaccination policy.

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