What We Talk About When We Talk About Health Care Costs


The new ethics guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) released earlier this year calling for physicians to practice ‘parsimonious care’ have rekindled a controversy about the role and responsibility of physicians in addressing health care costs. The ACP appropriately argues that the guidelines will help physicians to consider and weigh more carefully the tests and treatments they order and prescribe for patients, and to think on a higher level about the well-being of the community at large. The guidelines focus on responsibility, acknowledgment of the need to consider cost constraints, recognition that less care may sometimes be better care, and the call for individual physicians to use resources wisely is rare and a welcome acceptance of reality. The ACP should be applauded and not criticized for its engagement of costs and taking on a very difficult topic.

Keywords: Physicians, Health Resources, Health Care Costs, Dissent and Disputes, United States

< Back to Listings