When there are only so many resources to go around, doctors (and governments that fund doctors) need to decide where those resources will do the most good. These decisions are broadly known as healthcare rationing. It’s impossible not to ration healthcare at all, because we don’t have infinite resources. But it’s very important to pay attention to how these decisions are made.
For example, decision-makers might say they want to make the biggest improvement they can in ‘quality of life’ across the whole population. But there is a long history of people without disability assuming that people with disability have a lower quality of life by default, and therefore deciding that providing healthcare to us is less useful than providing healthcare to other people.
In Disability Royal Commission public hearings about healthcare, we have heard stories about how biases like this cause serious harm to people with disability. Extreme cases can tie in with eugenicist ideology.
Find out more about our human right to the same healthcare as everyone else in Article 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Find out more about unavoidable or positive healthcare rationing in this article from the Conversation, which takes a neutral perspective and doesn’t cover discrimination.