Healthcare rationing, here we come!

Charles Krauthammer explains how the only way Obama will be able to pay for his grand healthcare plan is to ration the healthcare services in the plan.

The hard part is Medicare and Medicaid. In an aging population, how do you keep them from blowing up the budget? There is only one answer: rationing.

Why do you think the stimulus package pours $1.1 billion into medical “comparative effectiveness research”? It is the perfect setup for rationing. Once you establish what is “best practice” for expensive operations, medical tests and aggressive therapies, you’ve laid the premise for funding some and denying others.

You see, it all makes perfect sense. Not everyone has healthcare benefits right now so we want everyone to have them. But in order for everyone to have them we need to deny them to some people. Hernia? Wait six months until your number is called. Gallbladder? Take these pills and call me in a year.

It is estimated that a third to a half of one’s lifetime health costs are consumed in the last six months of life. Accordingly, Britain’s National Health Service can deny treatments it deems not cost-effective — and if you’re old and infirm, the cost-effectiveness of treating you plummets. In Canada, they ration by queuing. You can wait forever for so-called elective procedures like hip replacements.

Feeling sick? Don’t worry, we’re the government. We’ll outlast you.

4 thoughts on “Healthcare rationing, here we come!”

  1. “The hard part is Medicare and Medicaid. In an aging population, how do you keep them from blowing up the budget? There is only one answer: rationing.”

    Healthcare is like a perfect storm. It has grown out of control and now no solution exists that is a good solution. There is no easy answer. Even the private sector (e.g., as in HMOs) practices rationing today.

  2. First of all there are solutions. Decoupling health insurance from employer/employee arrangements is one. Make insurance for catastrophic illnesses only to reduce its cost. People need to start paying for routine healthcare in an open and competitive market. Look at the cost of elective plastic surgery procedures that insurance policies don’t cover. With competition, they’ve dropped like the price of a DVD player.

    Also when an HMO denies you a procedure or a treatment, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it. You just have to pay for it. We don’t have a healthcare crisis in this country. There’s nothing wrong with healthcare. We have a crisis in healthcare costs and healthcare financing.

    “Universal healthcare” will be neither universal nor healthcare. It will be just one more government bureaucracy.

  3. “HMO denies you a procedure or a treatment, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it. You just have to pay for it.”

    Okay … but that’s pretty much the same way rationing works under the system in Canada.

    “In Canada, they ration by queuing. You can wait forever for so-called elective procedures like hip replacements.”

    If you don’t want to wait, you can still get the service by paying for it at a private clinic.

    I’m not saying that the system in Canada is appropriate for America … different political systems and traditions and all that … just observing that it is misunderstood by many people, like Charles Krauthammer (hey, another Charlie!, so you gotta love the guy).

  4. The problem is that if you’re denied a procedure do to rationing, then it’s not Universal Healthcare. And there will be people who get trapped in this system. We only have to look at our public education system to see that this is true. Yes there are private alternatives but we can’t all afford them because we are paying for the “universal” system. It’s shit.

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