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November 24, 2009

WaPo Columnist...Stop Whining, Sure Some Will Die But We Need To Save Money On Health Care

I'll give Eugine Robinson this much, he's more honest about the true impetus for health care reform than say Obama, Reid and Pelosi are.

He uses the recent federal guidelines which say women don't really need all that many mammograms after all. Turns out, according to the federal task force, they are expensive and the benefits don't justify the costs (being a good liberal he throws in Prostate Cancer screening in the interest of equal time).

Why do we really need to cut down on these cancer screenings? The answer...

The honest solution is a word that cannot be spoken: rationing. Our system already rations health care based on the individual's ability to pay. Insurance companies ration some tests and procedures based on age, risk factors and what often seems like whim. This ad hoc rationing doesn't work very well, and nothing in any of the reform bills even tries to address the basic consensus that makes spending continue to rise: Put a lid on everybody else's costs, but don't touch mine.

Where to begin?

First of all, ability or inability to pay for something is not rationing. The idea that we currently ration health care comes from advocates of a government takeover (one way or the other) of the health care system. When the government is in charge (as in the UK or Canada) there is rationing because there's one provider and they say we have x dollars to spend this year and then divide it up amongst the population.

In the US system, there is a theoretically unlimited amount of health care available, you just have to be willing to pay for it. If you have the cash or insurance, there is always someone willing to take your money and provide you with a service, operation or drug. Your insurance may not cover some things but that's not rationing, that's the contract you signed. If you think they are holding out against the terms of that contract you have legal recourse to force them to pony up. Not so much when the government holds the cards.

Under the current system you can always change insurance companies if you don't like their conditions. Real reform would make that easier by eliminating state control over insurance companies to allow for greater competition (always the key to lowering prices). Yet neither that or tort reform, another huge cost reduction measure, is on the table.

Confession....I can not afford to purchase and operate this airplane (though if you morons want to chip in, I'll give you a ride sometime). That does not mean Waco airplanes are being rationed by the government or the manufacturer. It means, I don't have a quarter of a million dollars laying around (and that's before insurance, maintenance, etc).

When they say the current system is rationing care, it's a word game proponents are playing to make you feel as if you won't be giving up something. The fact is, if you have insurance now, you most certainly will be losing something under the Democrats.

In fact, under the health care reform currently being worked on, these "recommendations" from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force would become law.

Second, Robinson's honesty contradicts something Obama has been using as a selling point for over a year, namely that testing and early diagnosis of diseases would save money.

And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies -- (applause) -- because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.

That's from Obama's speech to Congress. One is tempted to yell, "You Lie!"

Obviously that was always BS but Obama and the Democrats have been selling the country on the idea they would give everyone more and better service, expand coverage all while lowering costs.

It can't be done (at least not by government fiat).

Instead, Obama is going to take services and money from upper income groups, those with insurance now and the elderly and give it to people who don't have coverage.

Democrats used to be honest and say their goal was universal care, cutting costs never came into the picture (think Howard Dean in '04). Then they found people weren't willing to give up their care and money for others. Now they say it's all about cutting costs, improving service and oh yeah, maybe a little more coverage.

In other words, Democrats simply lie. Kudos to Robinson for at least being honest about it.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:59 AM

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