Austin uses Rep Issa’s comments to call for the end of “death panel” talk. He also wishes that we could act as if “rationing” were not a four letter word. That’s a fine sentiment, and one to which I would agree. But I don’t think we should let politicians off that easy.
It should be no surprise to any of you that I don’t trust many politicians to place policy above politics. I’m not sure they all even understand the nuances and complexities of it. And so, when they demonize sensible policy as “death panels” and such, they do harm. When they suddenly reverse themselves and support sensible policy, that’s a good thing. But it only reinforces my beliefs about the insanity of leaving many of these people in charge of something so critical.
Let’s look at some of what Rep. Issa says here:
“If I can help every senior get the same care they’re getting and still save tens of billions of dollars and have no doctors cheated out of what they’re entitled to, what’s not to like?” he said.
That’s comparativeness-effectiveness research in a nutshell. It was attacked by those who oppose health care reform. Repealing the PPACA would remove a ton of money specifically put aside to do this kind of work.
Under current rules, Medicare cannot consider cost-effectiveness in its coverage decisions. But Mr. Issa said it may be time to consider costs as well as efficacy, as long as medical decisions are made by doctors, not by “bureaucrats” in government.
“My committee can help by looking at whether the government is answering and informing about the lowest-cost, least-invasive procedures,” he said.
Can I get a “death panel”?
Please don’t tell me I should applaud this change of heart, or how this is what those who opposed reform believed all along. I was there. Everything Rep. Issa is calling for now was absolute evil before. Moreover, much of what he is calling for now is in the law that many want to repeal. I’m not looking for vindication; nor am I looking for others to be punished. 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.
It’s not because politicians are bad or good. It’s because they are politicians. It is their nature.