07.31.2009 0

The Barstool Economist: The Coming Health Care Titanic

  • On: 08/12/2009 09:34:50
  • In: Health Care
  • The Coming Health Care Titanic

    By Justin Williams

    Trade offs are a part of every economic decision whether someone is going to the grocery store or deciding on health care treatments. And in a previous article called “The ‘Invisible Hand’… or the Hand of Death?,” we looked at how the lack of a trade-off mechanism in the past caused health care costs to soar.

    Now it’s time to seriously consider what will happen when the decision is taken away from patient and put in the hands of an already heavily debt-burdened, bankrupt government.

    In a market, the private ownership of the medicine, tests, and services is supposed to allow exchange and trade on the basis of supply and demand. Now, with the current Obama Administration to eliminate private ownership as the means of production, the patients will simply have no choice but to be entirely subservient to a rationing or “control” board that places government demands above personal needs.

    Economically, there is no other way to organize the system then through rationing when the mechanism of prices is abolished altogether.

    Even leftist Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post correctly writes “It is not illogical for skeptics to suspect that if millions of people are going to be newly covered by health insurances, either costs are going to skyrocket or services are going to be curtailed.”

    In most government programs, the American taxpayer is unlucky enough to get both. Americans have already seen with the lack of a price system that costs have skyrocketed in the medical community, just as they have in the postal service, AMTRAK, the education system and every other arena where the government hegemony has wreaked havoc. Now, instead of allowing a fair price system, the Obama Administration plans on curtailing services.

    Barack Obama himself inadvertently revealed the first signs of curtailing services when he said, “Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.’” The solution to this would be to engage a price system, putting supply and demand in the patients’ hands. Instead, the Obama Administration has chose to let a government bureaucrat decide whether or not you should have your tonsils taken out.

    So the government is going to have to make trade offs on limiting critical medical services to the population as a whole. But somehow Mr. Robinson, along with many other liberals does not see how this reform could ever possibly create “death panels.”

    It’s simple. The American health care system will be more like the Titanic than an unhampered private system with a healthy price mechanism. American patients will have to line up: women and children first, arranged youngest to oldest; the elderly last – if at all.

    This government is already sinking fast into debt and running out of ways to raise funds. Health care reform will only accelerate this further. But, yet, increased government spending with reduced quality is the government’s only “solution” to today’s health care problems.

    While the ship sinks and the people line up in a deadly queue, the one thing that truly distinguishes the Titanic from the health care debate will become clear: on the Titanic, the captain went down with the ship. It is doubtful that you will see Barack Obama standing in the back of any line — because, after all, the politicians in Washington have their own non-government health-care program protecting them from the “public option.” So much for all men being created equal.

    Justin Williams is the Senior Commentary Editor of ALG News Bureau. As always, he accepts comments or questions about the Barstool Economist at [email protected]


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