Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yes we can and no we won't

Last week, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared on The Daily Show and told host Jon Stewart that Americans need to swear off junk food and learn to love lettuce sandwiches.

In a related story, Surgeon General nominee Regina Benjamin was denounced and cruelly attacked by commentators for being overweight.

Now, ask yourself: why is it anybody's business how much anybody weighs?

The answer is: When you ask people to pay for everybody else's health care, they believe everybody's weight is their business. If the government taxes some people to pay for other people's health care, it soon will be engaged in non-stop carping at anyone who smokes, drinks, eats fried food, or sits on a couch instead of marching on a treadmill.

It's inevitable.

This is just one small example of why health care reform as envisioned by the Obama administration will never become law in America. Health care reform is a perfect little laboratory experiment in collectivism.

Over and over again we hear about how much "we" spend on health care in America and how "our" outcomes compare to other countries. President Obama envisions panels of experts in Washington making decisions about the most effective treatments. Then the government can tell doctors and hospitals it won't reimburse them for "less effective" treatments, thereby saving "us" billions of dollars.

But health care isn't a collective good. It's not like Pentagon spending.

When you get sick, the issue isn't how much "we" spend on "our" outcomes. The issue is what you need for your best outcome. The only question is who's going to pay for it, and who's going to be in the position to say, "That's too expensive and it's not worth it in this case."

The best person to make that decision is the patient. When insurance companies say "no," politicians go around the country declaring that we have a health care crisis and people are being denied treatment.

President Obama proposes panels of experts who will review digitized medical records to improve quality and efficiency. He says costs will be controlled by adjusting "incentives," which is government-speak for refusing to reimburse doctors and hospitals for some treatments that government experts believe, after a statistical analysis of "outcomes" and a thorough review by White House officials, to be less effective or not worth the money.

Would you stand still for some government bean-counter's guidelines blocking the treatment your doctor recommends for you or a family member?

Or would you start calling around to see if anyone knows a congressman or a cabinet secretary who can get your treatment approved?

Do you want to live in a country like that? Where you can't get the medical care you want unless you know someone?

Health care reform would turn the political class into a powerful and protected elite that enjoys the best of everything, while everyone else is forced to accept less in the name of "fairness."

That's how it works in totalitarian countries.

And this is how you become one.

Copyright 2009

Editor's note: You might be interested in the earlier posts, "Just kill it" and "Gazing into the future."