Remember when Sarah Palin was excoriated for saying that “And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”? Remember?
A mere three years later, Obama’s “car czar,” Steven Rattner, published a New York Times op-ed in which he endorses death panels as a way to control costs. (Hat tip.) A few choice excerpts:
Most notably, President Obama’s estimable Affordable Care Act regrettably includes severe restrictions on any reduction in Medicare services or increase in fees to beneficiaries. In 2009, Sarah Palin’s rant about death panels even forced elimination from the bill of a provision to offer end-of-life consultations.
The problem is, the advisory board can’t propose reducing benefits (a k a rationing) or raising fees (another form of rationing), without which the spending target looms impossibly large.
No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have systems for rationing care.
Bailouts for auto companies? Sign the Obama Administration up! Saving the lives of WWII vets so that they can see their granddaughters get married? Overrated.
As I’ve often pointed out, the government is subject to more brutal budget constraints than any insurance company, given that it is $16 trillion in debt and insurance companies are solvent. Likewise, as harsh as it is to have a system wherein a person may be limited in the treatment he receives by his own personal finances, that system is at least amoral, in that it does not implicate morality; the system advocated by Ruttner is downright murderous.