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    Nail On Health Care Head

    Nail On Health Care Head

    I didn’t watch the ABC-White House health care special last night because the set up was one-sided. From an ABC report of the program, however, it appears that all did not go as planned for the White House, as two physicians in the audience challenged Obama on the implications of government-run health care, which always involves rationing.

    The plans being discussed in Congress, surely with input from the White House, involve severe rationing of health care services so as to cut costs sufficiently to cover everyone. As in Britain and Canada, the proposals envision an unaccountable health board which would make cost-benefit decisions as to which treatments were permitted nationwide, without regard to any particular patient.

    The physicians in the audience last night, at least according to the ABC report, asked Obama if he would be willing to limit his family’s treatment to whatever such health board determined was cost effective treatment. Needless to say, Obama would not so commit:

    Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by

    Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

    The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.

    And therein lies the paradox and fundamental fraud of the Democratic health care proposals. The wealthy, including the President and Congress, always will be able to get whatever care they want, by paying out of their own pocket or purchasing extra private coverage at substantial cost. (Although the government’s decisions on procedures and medications may result in such benefits being available to no one, since it would not be cost effective for a company to develop a surgical procedure if the public plan bans the use of such procedure.)

    The public, by contrast, will be stuck with what the government decides. Unless the health care plans outlaw such extraordinary private coverage, so that everyone is on a level playing field.

    The public plans and government control of health care will result in a greater disparity between rich and poor (with the middle and upper-middle classes being shifted into the “poor” category), unless the government uses its police powers to ban the wealthy from purchasing additional health care benefits.

    Greater disparity or a health care police state. At least one person at the ABC-White House television special hit the nail on the health care head.

    UPDATE: Yes, this should be Obama’s Michael Dukakis moment if we had an honest mainstream media, but we don’t so it won’t.

    Related Posts:
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    Getting Punked On Health Care Reform

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    I think the issue is whether people should be forced or free to help others. Liberals believe that charity only works when it's coerced. Conservatives believe that charity works best when it's voluntary. That's why liberals believe that conservatives hate poor people; we're pro-choice. (Which is also why conservatives think liberals hate babies, but that's another topic.)

    "(1) should the rationing be done by the government, who at least should have the interests of the individual at heart"

    This is the fundamental worldview disconnect between Satya and conservatives.

    I do not believe that the government has the interests of the individual at heart. The government has the interests of those in charge of the government at heart. The government is largely incapable of seeing anyone as an individual, up until the individual sets its interests against that of the government, by doing things like violating the law.

    In particular, a progressive government that sees people not as individuals but as the labels they carry, is incapable of seeing people as individuals for purposes of healthcare, or any other reason. At least as a policyholder from "corporations who exist only to provide a profit to their shareholders", you represent a revenue stream that the companies are largely loath to lose. They have no business other than collecting premiums, paying claims and negotiating for as much of the former and as little of the latter as possible. You would think these parasitical corporations would balk at the most expensive of treatment, namely cancer treatment, but that is one area at which the profit-driven US healthcare system excels. Paradoxical, no?

    I forsee some version of ObamaCare with a public option passing, as much as I wish it wouldn't. And since the people who will use the public option will insist on equivalence to private coverage, for the first few years the coverage will be very good, with few restrictions. "See!" the proponents will cry, "You were silly to be concerned." A few years down the road, when the cost estimates are wildly exceeded, benefits will be ratcheted down, though taxation will not. Meanwhile, the other insurance plans who are unable to print money like the public option can, who have to do silly things like maintain reserves, will lose many clients to the public plan simply because the public plan will almost assuredly be cheaper than a private plan of equivalent benefit.

    The net result will be the majority of patients treated under the public plan, with increasing costs despite suboptimal treatment options (a demographic certainty, if a version of Medicare becomes the "public plan"), while a minority of people willing to pay over and above the taxation that is required to support the public option (both for them, and for others) will get better care. Regardless, the government will have essentially taken control of another 14% or so of all economic activity in the country, and whether the plans fail or succeed, the taxes will remain.

    The simple truth is that we cannot afford a public system that provides care to everyone at a level of service we are accustomed to receiving under private plans. I know this because virtually every other nation that has tried to do so has not, Massachusetts cannot for long, and even Hawaii's limited plan for children folded in short order. This is not invention of a system, it's adoption of systems that have already been tried and found wanting elsewhere.

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