healthcare rationing

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Subbing for Andrew Sullivan, Robert Wright observes that "the people who are trying to sabotage [healthcare] reform by telling mind-boggling lies about its hidden rationing agenda seem, in fact, pretty content with rationing"--they just outsource the rationing to the insurance industry:

Well, if you view income as a gauge of a person's productivity in society--and God knows there are Republicans who do--then the quality of health care is already correlated with "productivity in society." Obama's plan, by making health care more affordable to lower income people, would make that less true.

This is just another way of making a point already made by Peter Singer in response to less delusional concerns about the possibility of rationing under Obama's plan: we already ration health care; we just let the market do the rationing.

The wealthy will always have access to healthcare, and the various proposals would merely redress that imbalance by assisting the rest of us in obtaining it. Wright links to Peter Singer's "Why We Must Ration Health Care," which points out some obvious but often-ignored facts:

Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for.

Southern Beale (h/t: Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars) has an example of a real-world "death panel"--one that's all too common in the world of free-market healthcare--"be[ing] told that your mother's insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU:"

You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to "make some decisions," like whether your mother should be released "HTD" which is hospital parlance for "home to die," or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn't a "death panel" I don't know what is.

So don't talk to me about "death panels" you heartless, cruel, greedy sons of bitches, who are only too happy to keep the profits rolling in to the big insurance companies while you spout your mealy-mouthed bumper sticker slogans about the evils of socialism. You don't even know what socialism is. You don't know what government healthcare is. You have no fucking clue about anything except that you lost the last election and you're pissed off.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 10, 2009 7:20 PM.

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