An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this Friday explains that senior Americans are increasingly voicing opposition to reform proposals that give the government more control over health care as they come to recognize that political rationing will affect them the most.
Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, rationing care is inevitable, and those who have lived the longest will find their care the most restricted. Far from being a scare tactic, this is a logical conclusion based on experience and common-sense. Once health care is a “free good” that government pays for, demand will soar and government costs will soar too. When the public finally reaches its taxing limit, something will have to give on the care and spending side. In a word, care will be rationed by politics. From the point of view of politicians with a limited budget, is it worth spending a lot on, say, a patient with late-stage cancer where the odds of remission are long? Or should they spend to improve quality, not length, of life? Or pay for a hip or knee replacement for seniors, when palliative care might cost less? And who decides?
Who decides is the essential question of the healthcare debate.
[President Obama] seems to believe these medical issues are all justifiably political questions that government or some panel of philosopher kings can and should decide. No wonder so many seniors rebel at such judgments that they know they could do little to influence, much less change.
The Club for Growth recently released a video demonstrating, based on the example of England, what it means when the government decides on the value of life. The message is a powerful one: Life and death decisions should be made by patients and doctors, not politicians and bureaucrats.