I didn’t watch the ABC-White House health care special last night because the set up was one-sided. From an ABC report of the program, however, it appears that all did not go as planned for the White House, as two physicians in the audience challenged Obama on the implications of government-run health care, which always involves rationing.
The plans being discussed in Congress, surely with input from the White House, involve severe rationing of health care services so as to cut costs sufficiently to cover everyone. As in Britain and Canada, the proposals envision an unaccountable health board which would make cost-benefit decisions as to which treatments were permitted nationwide, without regard to any particular patient.
The physicians in the audience last night, at least according to the ABC report, asked Obama if he would be willing to limit his family’s treatment to whatever such health board determined was cost effective treatment. Needless to say, Obama would not so commit:
Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by
Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.
The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.
And therein lies the paradox and fundamental fraud of the Democratic health care proposals. The wealthy, including the President and Congress, always will be able to get whatever care they want, by paying out of their own pocket or purchasing extra private coverage at substantial cost. (Although the government’s decisions on procedures and medications may result in such benefits being available to no one, since it would not be cost effective for a company to develop a surgical procedure if the public plan bans the use of such procedure.)
The public, by contrast, will be stuck with what the government decides. Unless the health care plans outlaw such extraordinary private coverage, so that everyone is on a level playing field.
The public plans and government control of health care will result in a greater disparity between rich and poor (with the middle and upper-middle classes being shifted into the “poor” category), unless the government uses its police powers to ban the wealthy from purchasing additional health care benefits.
Greater disparity or a health care police state. At least one person at the ABC-White House television special hit the nail on the health care head.
UPDATE: Yes, this should be Obama’s Michael Dukakis moment if we had an honest mainstream media, but we don’t so it won’t.