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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Is charging for medical advice ethical?…

Posted by direwolff on January 4, 2007

…asks Seth Godin in his blog post from 12/31/06.

Specifically, he addresses the results of a Google search he did for “stop vomiting” in trying to address his child’s discomfort. The site he found requested $5 via Paypal to provide him an answer. This lead Seth to the following thought for our consideration:

Other than trying to leave a legacy for future midnight surfers, the purpose of this post is to help us think about whether charging $5 for information like this is ethical–and if you think it is, whether it is possible to do it successfully for long…

Well, sadly I’m not sure I see much difference between this and a society that deals in privatized medicine. Is it fair that a poor family that can’t afford the costs of proper healthcare be denied treatment or the appropriate medications? No, it’s not fair which is why socialized medicine is the norm in many other countries. One can make the arguments that it’s not always as good, but that’s a matter that can be addressed separately if we chose to place adequate importance on this issue. As for a site charging $5 for their answer, I see no greater issue with their ethics than with that of a hospital or doctor that won’t treat an uninsured patient. So long as medicine remains privatized and no one has a problem with those ethics, then I hardly see the difference between that and charging any amount of money for a remedy as simply doxylamine and Pepsi. Personally, I think the current healthcare system is unethical in many ways, but it’s the system I live under so I do my best to impact change with my vote, and accept the hypocrisy under which I’m forced to live. Seth may want to ponder the hypocrisy under which he’s living too.

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