What more is there to say about Sarah Palin’s now-famous claim
that President Obama’s health-care plan features “death panels” that will give
patients the thumbs up or thumbs down? Just that, if this were Obama’s plan, it
would have more in common with our current system than you might think.
In Palin’s fantasy, the death-panel “bureaucrats” were going to pick
winners and losers based on a judgment about their “level of productivity in
society.” Well, if you view income as a gauge of a person’s productivity in
society—and God knows there are Republicans who do—then the quality of health
care is already correlated with “productivity in society.” Obama’s plan, by
making health care more affordable to lower income people, would make that less
This is just another way of making a point already
made by Peter Singer in response to less delusional concerns about the
possibility of rationing under Obama’s plan: we already ration health care; we
just let the market do the rationing.
Any government health care plan will bring some new form of
“rationing,” since no government can afford to guarantee everyone all possible
medical treatment. But let’s be clear: the people who are trying to sabotage
reform by telling mind-boggling lies about its hidden rationing agenda seem, in
fact, pretty content with rationing; they seem happy with a system in which the
least “productive” members of society get bad health care, including,
occasionally, health care so bad that it leads to death.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Market Rationing of Health Care
Robert Wright makes a very insightful response to Sarah Palin's Friday remark: