Intelligence Squared U.S. Audience Agrees to "Ration End-of-Life Care"

Peter Singer and Art Kellermann Win Debate over Sally Pipes and Ken Connor

Debate will air on NPR stations nationwide

CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Intelligence Squared U.S. continued its Fall 2012 season with a debate at Chicago Ideas Week and a victory for the motion "Ration End-of-Life Care." In the final tally, Peter Singer and Art Kellermann won the Oxford-style debate by convincing 38% of the audience to change their minds and support the motion. After the debate, 81% of audience members agreed that the government should ration resources so that doctors can do the most good for the most patients possible, up from 43% pre-debate.

Watch the full debate here:

Arguing against the motion, Ken Connor and Sally Pipes sought to prove that allowing government bureaucrats to make personal decisions is the wrong way to balance the budget. But at the end of the evening it was Peter Singer's and Art Kellermann's arguments that health care is already rationed, so we need to figure out how to ration in a way that does the most good for the greatest number of people, that convinced the audience to vote for the motion. This latest intellectual match up was IQ2US's 65th debate and was streamed live by Fora.Tv.

Key Excerpts For the Motion:


"We cannot increase health care spending indefinitely and also spend more on the elderly and spend more on the environment, on education, on all of the other important things that we need. So, like it nor not, we are rationing health care. We are arguing that, indeed, we should. That's obvious. But whether we should be more explicit about it, because we want to get the best results we can. We want to save the most number of lives that we can."


"Limiting this type of care is not rationing; it's good medicine. Many treatments are used to achieve goals that patients did not want or were not proportionate to the burdens that the treatment imposed, because there was either ineffective communication about the disease prognosis, there is a failure to achieve adequate informed patient consent, or there was no advanced care planning. Avoiding these treatments is not rationing; it's simply rectifying poor-quality care."

Key Excerpts Against the Motion:


"Rationing is the lazy man's way -- lazy man's attempt to balance the budget. It's easier to balance the budget on the backs of the sick and dying than it is to reform your ways of wasteful spending in government and try to wrench money back from the hands of the special interests at home and abroad. So back to the premises, first of all, that healthcare decisions should be made at the bedside. Americans don't want bureaucratic bean counters in Washington making decisions about what kind of care they're going to wind up receiving at the end of life. Decisions about healthcare and how it ought to be administered and when it ought to be administered ought to be decisions that are made by the patient informed by their doctors and by their families."


"While no one can deny that there are problems in American healthcare, a system that empowers doctors and patients will solve them, not the federal government. I do think that everyone here would agree we all want affordable, acceptable quality care. How do we achieve that goal? Well, I believe there are two competing visions when it comes to healthcare reform and achieving universal coverage. One focuses on doctors and patient-centered solutions. The other focuses on increasing the role of government in our healthcare system. That was President Obama's vision. Liberal politicians, academics and the elite media tell Americans that socialized assistance such as exists in Canada and Europe are better and cheaper and can provide universal coverage for all."

Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted as follows:

  • 43% of audience agreed with the resolution
  • 22% of audience against the resolution
  • 35% undecided

After careful consideration of the points by the audience, Peter Singer and Art Kellermann won the debate: the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.

  • 81% of audience agreeing with the resolution (+38%)
  • 12% of audience against the resolution (-10%)
  • 7% undecided (-28%)

To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and post-debate, please visit us at:

The showdown at Albert Theatre in Chicago puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.



Named One of "Five Podcasts that Will Change the Way You Think" by Forbes, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in New York City in 2006 by Robert Rosenkranz, and has grown into an internationally syndicated series heard and watched by millions. The debates have attracted some of the world's top thinkers including Paul Krugman, Karl Rove, Malcolm Gladwell, Alan Dershowitz, Peter Thiel and Arianna Huffington.

Based on the highly successful Oxford-style debate program originated in London, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented over 60 debates on a wide range of provocative topics including global warming, the financial crisis, the marketing of organic foods, and the death of mainstream media. The Rosenkranz Foundation initiated the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series and continues to provide major support. ABC News correspondent John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

For more information about Intelligence Squared U.S., please contact Andrea Bussell (, Rebecca Shapiro ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media, 718.522.7171.

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Source: Intelligence Squared