I listen to NPR on my long drive to and from work each day. I have heard Peter Orszag, Barack Obama’s budget director, repeatedly mention the Obama strategy for eliminating health care choices that “Don’t work”. As in treatments that don’t restore the recipient of the treatment to health.
Once again, we have people taking the shortage, rationing approach to its logical conclusion. In a non-shortage, free-market approach, people can choose for themselves whether to pursue cost-effective strategies based on their own resources, and the free market would incentivize the creation of enough resources to meet the demand. Only by restricting choice and setting prices will resources become scarce, which we have seen gradually for the last several decades in our own heavily-regulated health-care system, and seen dramatically in the various single-payer systems around the world.
What happens when the state controls all the resources? New resources do not develop, and the government winds up rationing care based on its own priorities, and not the priorities of the patients or caregivers. Professor Altman’s suggestion that the elderly get hospice treatment to save scarce care resources is exactly the kind of decisions the state will make for its citizens, and it won’t be limited to the elderly, either. Anyone whose value does not show a positive “cost-benefit” ratio to the state will also likely wind up without the kind of care necessary to stay alive and healthy.
Let me point out something that should be obvious, but apparently escapes the proponents of “free” health care.
Ultimately NO medical procedure whatsoever can defeat death.
So, in the end, isn’t all medical care futile?
This health care push is heading into territory a lot of voters did not think out fully.
The politics of envy have some ugly costs associated.
I hope we are better than this. No, I pray we are.