I’m at a meeting in Chicago, and should really be paying attention; but I can’t less this pass uncommented.
“Death panels”? Still? Really?
Austin has already done a pretty good job on Gov. Palin’s op-ed. I am less of a believer in consumer-directed health care as a means to improve the health care system, but that’s not what this is about.
I want to make one point. Few people believe that the mechanisms currently in place are controlling health care spending. Few people also dispute that – here in the US – if you have the money, you can get what you want. So, if we want to spend less on something like Medicare, we can do one of two things:
- On the one hand, we can have a panel of experts (which will include physicians) try and determine which care isn’t worth the money and stop spending as much on that. This will mean that if people want to get that care anyway, they have to pay for it themselves.
- Alternatively, we can spend less on everything and require everyone to pay more for all care themselves.
Evidently, one of these is a “death panel” and the other is a great idea. Personally, I believe the first is more sensible and the second is regressive, but others vehemently disagree.
Both, though, require people who want stuff that isn’t paid for to use their own money. They aren’t different in that respect. Both will reduce Medicare spending. Both will mean saying no to things that people cannot afford to pay for.
Neither is anything approaching “making bureaucrats, not medical professionals, the ultimate arbiters of what types of treatment will (and especially will not) be reimbursed under Medicare” no matter how many times people say it is.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
I just want people to recognize that when they are listening to politicians in order to understand policy, that they are not being informed about how to implement a good health care system. They are being told how to win the game of politics. That’s not the same thing.