Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Questioning the sacred cows of health care reform

Posted by sanityinjection on July 22, 2009

Thomas Sowell weighs in on the health care debate with a typically well-reasoned piece questioning some of the basic assumptions behind the Administration’s push for health care reform:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/21/medical_care_confusion_97543.html

I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone who thinks that our health care system is perfect the way it is. But as Sowell notes, the fact that there are things that need to be improved is not necessarily sufficient to hand the Administration a blank check for generic “change”. Democrats’ proposals for health care reform are an exercise in doublethink because they would have us believe that we can simultaneously expand coverage and cut costs at the same time, which defies logic. In fact, they know better: they are paying lip service to the idea of reducing costs in order to win support for universal public health care which is what they have wanted all along – to give the federal and state governments complete control over every aspect of the medical care of all Americans.

The health care reform I could support would focus instead on reducing the cost of medical care so that Americans can afford to purchase health insurance. That could involve several ingredients including malpractice liability reform, promotion of catastrophic as opposed to comprehensive health insurance, taking the burden of the free care pool off the backs of hospitals, and an end to pharmaceutical and medical tech companies profiteering off of no-strings-attached government R&D funding. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about *any* of these ideas being talked about in the current health care reform debate – good! So am I.

Instead, we’re going to get another dose of the line of arguing that gave us the trillion dollar stimulus package: “Our solution is the only solution so it’s either this or nothing at all. And we have to do it immediately so there’s no time for discussion. Either you support doing it our way, right now, or you’re part of the problem.” To the extent that this has become the operating dynamic of politics in the Obama era, it is a most unwelcome change. So much for reducing partisanship and reaching across the aisle.

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7 Responses to “Questioning the sacred cows of health care reform”

  1. John Stossel – one of the few voices of reason left over at the fanboy operation that is OBC, I mean ABCNews – explains why it is ridiculous to think that a centralized government bureaucracy can efficiently run an industry as complex as health care:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/22/arrogance_97561.html

  2. And for the trifecta today, Tennessee Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Phil Roe illustrate how all of the pitfalls of universal health care work in practice by telling us about Tennessee’s failed “TennCare” system:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/22/tenncare_lessons_for_modern_health_care_reform_97570.html

  3. […] after the stimulus bill that has so far been declared dead on arrival? Right now Americans only see the enormous price tag associated with President Obama’s vision of government health care and it worries them. […]

  4. This is a very long, but brilliant piece by Clifford Asness exploding 7 big myths that the Left wants you to believe about health care:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/23/health_care_mythology_97552.html

    It’s dense but also riddled with humorous asides. You should at least skim it if you want to know why the Democrats’ claim that a public health care option can coexist with a private one is false, or why the idea that health care is a basic human right is nonsense.

  5. As usual, Robert Samuelson puts it most succinctly: “In the short run — meaning four to eight years — government cannot both insure the uninsured and rein in health spending.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/27/obamas_misleading_medicine_97633.html

  6. And lest anyone think that health care reform is a new issue, recall this from Time magazine’s summary of a 1988 Presidential debate between Mike Dukakis and George Bush:

    “The cleavages were equally apparent on economic issues — none more clear- cut than on the question of how to provide for the millions of Americans without health insurance. Where Dukakis pointed to his recently unveiled program that would require that all private businesses provide coverage for their workers, he totally ignored Bush’s claims that this approach might have hidden costs of up to $35 billion or $40 billion. Yet Bush, for all his concerns about a “kinder, gentler nation,” seemed hamstrung in posing a credible alternative. At one point the Vice President said somewhat helplessly, “It’s a terrible problem, but I don’t want to mandate it.””

  7. This is one of the best pieces on health care reform that I’ve seen, by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/02/AR2009080201252.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    Here’s a snippet:

    “In typical fashion, the self-proclaimed experts piecing together this Democratic health-care legislation are focusing on only one leg — access — of a three-legged stool that also includes cost and quality….Congress is considering a 1975 socialized medicine model, brought up 34 years later by people who have been in Congress since the early 1970s.”

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