Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Burden on Society, Part 2

We ended Part 1 having established with a quote that "All that is required of the experts is that they should tell us how to ration health care fairly and effectively", and my comment that "Rationing healthcare fairly and effectively means deciding who lives, and who dies."

Currently, the insurance companies essentially decide, for many of us in the US, who lives and who dies -- though with enough money, you can decide these questions yourself.

But with their new "healthcare" program, the Obamanistas and their Clintonite retreads will need to appoint experts to do that now.

Ah, but don't take my word for it. From Health-Care Rationing Is Inevitable, by Knight Kiplinger, Editor in Chief, Kiplinger publications, February, 2010:

Rationing remains the ultimate taboo in the health-care debate. Nobody -- including me -- likes to be told by a health-care funder, whether private or public, that it won't pay for treatment. But I believe that formal rationing will someday take hold in the U.S., regardless of whether pending health-care legislation is enacted. It's a matter of simple affordability. The high cost of wonderful new medical treatments will far exceed our nation's ability to pay for them.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that, at its recent rate of annual growth, the cost of Medicare and Medicaid -- not including privately funded health care in the U.S. -- will triple from 4% of the nation's gross domestic product in 2007 to 12% in 2050, then surge again by half to 19% of GDP in 2082. That 19% would be about the same share of our economy that Washington spends today on all functions of government -- pensions, defense, education and so on.

More ominously, the biggest factor in this crisis won't be the increasing number of Americans on the Medicare and Medicaid rolls. It will be the ever-higher per capita consumption of health care -- people seeking more miracle drugs, more replacement of joints and organs, more of everything. Curbing wasteful medical practices, squeezing doctors and hospitals, and controlling drug prices won't save nearly enough. If unchecked, this situation portends higher taxes and premiums for private insurance, plus the starvation of other societal needs.

Someday, the parties that pay for health care in the U.S. -- rarely the individual patient, most often an employer, its insurer or the government -- will have to create carefully considered cost-benefit analyses for every kind of medical care that might be sought by patients at every stage of life, from prenatal to old age.

These analyses will be crafted by knowledgeable experts -- doctors, economists, bioethicists and actuaries

So, a patient and a doctor will not be making life-or-death decisions, with the patient having the freedom to go to another doctor if she or he does not like the answers of the current doctor. Instead, the government-assigned doctor will consult with economists and other experts as to what is best for society.

Who should live and who should die? What is best for society? Isn't this how the Holocaust really got started?

Ah, but pardon me for interrupting:

These analyses will be crafted by knowledgeable experts -- doctors, economists, bioethicists and actuaries -- with all of us looking over their shoulders and kibitzing. They will decide which therapies are effective or ineffective. They will decide whether society's limited resources should be concentrated -- as now -- on the last stages of long lives or focused on improving the health of children and young adults, who have many more years ahead of them.

The very way that polemic is phrased kind of gives you an idea what answer has already been decided, doesn't it?

(Sorry, Grandpa & Grandma!)

The process will be contentious, but from it will emerge standardized, rational policies for approving or denying payment for a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, based on the patient's prognosis and age. That's rationing, and most other nations do it now. Patients who want to undergo a procedure that has not been approved will be free to do so in an open, global health-care market -- and pay for it themselves, if they can.

"That's rationing, and most other nations do it now."

So now, instead of trying to be the greatest nation on earth (which every country should seek to do!), we're going to run with the herd, aiming to be no better than Castro's Cuba.

They do (with a note of hope) point out that patients can go to the "global health-care market", and pay for it themselves.

But, they already explained how most other countries ration healthcare, so where can you go? Oh, I forgot -- Cuba.

And, in any case, how can they pay for it on the "open" (socialized) world market, if the government is taking even more of their wealth to pay for an economist to tell them that it is not economical for the government doctor to try to cure them?

Yes, some of our perceived medical needs -- and many of our wants -- won't be met under rationing. Knowing that in advance, perhaps more of us will change the way we live now to reduce our future demand for scarce resources.

Change the way you live now to reduce your future demand for scarce resources.

That's what this is really about!

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

And if you choose to smoke, drink, etc., then your demand for scarce resources will go unaddressed.

For the record, I am pro-life, anti-abortion, and undeterred.

However, to those of you who want abortion on demand, consider the following:

Fertility treatment and "social" abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

Through socialized healthcare, Obama will stab you "pro-choice" people in the back on the abortion issue -- again!

(By the way -- why should we be "pro-choice" when deciding whether a child is born, but not "pro-choice" when deciding what doctor we want to go to?)

It is not medical care that is immediately at stake here. First to go will be your freedom, as they start dictating what doctor you go to, and what lifestyles are unacceptable for those who receive mandatory government medical care.

Next the quality of medical care will go, as medical staff have their salaries cut by the government which employs them, to keep costs down, and as the government decides what treatments you can receive, and what treatments are too costly.

As all this happens, the yearly deficit will skyrocket, and the federal debt will skyrocket (even more so than now) as much of the economy which currently pays taxes will instead be supported by taxes: fewer tax dollars in, and greater expenditures out. This program will be an enormous burden on our society, far greater than any war we've ever fought, far greater than the current welfare state... but wait, there's more!

These skyrocketing costs will lead us to Step Three, when government experts decide who should receive healthcare, and who should just be euthanized -- ah, excuse me, "allowed to commit assisted suicide".

The first victims of the Holocaust were the incurably insane, people suffering from dementias, and so on; they were never going to get better, and they were deemed a "burden on society": why should resources be devoted to them, which could be used to feed healthy Nazi supermen?

And that is what Obamacare will really lead us to: deciding who is a "burden on society", and getting rid of those people. And they have already set the stage for the elderly to line up among the first victims.

America's Holocaust has begun this week -- and it began on our watch.

And that history will be the burden on American society.


  1. how horrific is this ! The govt will take good care of us: NOT!!

  2. "Rationing healthcare fairly and effectively means deciding who lives, and who dies." (EL)

    The odd thing is that a basic, bare-bones "public option" that would roll in the existing two (failing) public options (Medicare & Medicaid) into a tightly restricted and strictly rationed bare-bones system that would accord everyone, say 4 to 5 doctor visits per year and up to say a maximum of $10,000 of care in any given calendar year, WITH the option of purchasing the necessary "gap insurance" from private insurers to avoid that rationing and those restrictions would; (1) Save HUGE amounts of money by rationing care to those currently bankrupting the system - the illegal immigrants, the uninsured and the elderly who use doctors visits as social occasions, despite needing more money for a strict oversight and enforcement arm (2) allow all those willing and able to pay the premiums on the gap insurance need to circumvent that rationing, (3) SAVE businesses and Municipalities, among whose biggest expenses are currently health insurance for their employees and (4) it would shift the real responsibility (beyond that basic, bare-bones health plan offered to all) to the individual, where it belongs.

    That would at least technically "cover" the destitute, the currently uninsured and the elderly, while making private gap insurance both available and necessary to avoid the restrictions of the "public option."

    With the "failure" of our current system being almost exclusively due to our giving away far too much state-of-the-art health care for free, this would eradicate that problem by placing all those currently abusing the system on a veritable healthcare reservation, from which the ONLY escape would be through private gap insurance through private sector insurers.

    Of course, we'd have to INSIST that ALL government officials be enrolled in that one mammoth public option with everyone else.

  3. Hello, Your blog looks very interesting, and you have good links. I hope I'll have time to go through them. Unfortenately here in Iraq internet is very slow and I can't use it every day.

  4. JMK,

    When they first came out with Social Security, it made a great deal of sense to many people. They used to advertise that one should never divulge one's social security number to anyone other than a duly-identified representative of the Social Security Administration. Look at how that has changed: now, you need to divulge it to open a bank account, to find a place to live and get utility service there, even to get an account at a department store.

    "They" always start out small with something that seems to make sense, so they can get some of the intelligent people who care about what is going on to support it, knowing that those kind of people will have influence, and bring others with them. "They" know they can change it later on (that makes it sound like a conspiracy, and in Hitler's case it was), or else it evolves into a monster that even "they" couldn't imagine (this is how I picture FDR and Social Security).

    We must not limit ourselves to looking at what it says on paper; we need to imagine the extreme to which our society and our bureaucracy, fortified by an unhealthy vitamin soup of attorneys, will take it.

    Thank you for the very informative and thought-provoking comment! :)


    I really work on the links. I try to have a wide range of quality news links, both mainstream and "alternative". I don't consider ideological slant, but rather I try to look at how much influence they have, or else at how accurately they report and how much they dig.

    For reference, I try to find a topic that people need to know about and should know about, but about which they may have trouble finding authoritative information, and I try to find as many useful links as I can for that topic. Areas for future work include the other countries of Central and Southwest Asia.

    Because of the focus on reference and news, I don't have a lot of links to blogs just yet. A couple of the links are places I have been and kind of like. I try to find blogs that get updated fairly regularly, and so even if I find one I like, I want to see that it is getting updated (many good blogs have gone defunct). Again, I link to blogs and analysis sites based on how informative the site is, based on how thought-provoking it is, based on how much research they seem to be doing -- not based on ideological slant.

    If you like what you see so far, please stay tuned, because it will get better. I hope to develop a subgroup of clientele who likes my blog just for the links. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Thanks for stopping in! :)

  5. "We must not limit ourselves to looking at what it says on paper; we need to imagine the extreme to which our society and our bureaucracy, fortified by an unhealthy vitamin soup of attorneys, will take it." (EL)

    That is correct, and one of the primary reasons why the LAWYER/Legislator is a horrific and innate conflict of interest.

    But my proposal for an overall/universal basic, bare-bones public option is the ONLY way to truly reduce health care costs AND remove the burden of providing health care FROM America's employers.

    We already provide free health care for the indigent and the uninsured (including illegal immigrants) and most Americans seem to believe that that is "rightly so," as they've supported demanding by law that no hospital emergency room refuse to treat anyone who walks through their doors regardless of insurance status.

    That CANNOT be rescinded.

    Seriously. I believe a large majority of Americans (62% to 68%?) of Americans would vote to continue that "humane" program until we virtually went bankrupt/insolvent as a nation.

    So, that leaves us with some sort of compromise.

    We MUST offer a plan that offers some degree of free care to the indigent and the uninsured (yes, including illegal immigrants....OR hospital emergency rooms will continue to be required to treat them with those hospitals sending those Bills to the federal government).

    The key is rationing and restricting care upfront, while making sure that private insurance is available for those who seek to avoid all that rationing.

    Such a universal basic public option would ration care to the poor and recklessly irresponsible, saving hundreds of Billions of dollars in health care abuse and overuse every year AND it would free our businesses and Municipalities from the increasingly oppressive burden of providing health care for their employees!

    My solution is similar to the Gingrich "Welfare Reform" compromise. Newt Gingrich wisely knew that very few Americans (for better or worse) actually believed that scrapping welfare outright was a good idea.

    The ONLY palatable solution (and even THAT was barely palatable to many Americans) was to rein in welfare via reforms like work-fare, limiting time on public assistance, etc. The biggest thing the Gingrich reforms did was to make "double-dipping" (getting welfare benefits from numerous Municipalities at the same time) much harder.

    I liked the Gingrich compromise because I knew that scrapping welfare was impossible given how unpopular that would be.

    Similarly, the main problem with health care in America is COST.

    The primary reason for that excessive COST is that we give away too much high-tech, high-cost health care away to too many people who pay nothing into the system.

    The ONLY way to realistically cut those COSTS is via RATIONING, since getting rid of the current employer-provided system and having every individual "roll their own," would be highly unpopular and unpractical.

    A basic/bare-bones universal public option would ration those on that program while making private "gap" insurance available via private providers. That's the way to eradicate the current unworkable employer-provided health care AND cut costs at the same time.

    Look at welfare today, the Dems have gradually eradicated many of the the Gingrich reforms. Those will have to be reinstated and upgraded when the Conservatives take back control. It's the same with this and with ALL facets of government - Liberals unleash much nefarious mischief across the entire spectrum of government to undermine individual Liberty and Capitalism, as they did over the previous three decades with their relentless push to "reform" traditional lending criteria to make home ownership more accessible to low income Americans. It's up to Conservatives to be eternally vigilant and counteract each of those measures in time.