Peter Singer, the philosopher who told us killing handicapped children should be permissible, has yanked one of the worst skeletons out of the Obamacare closet and, once again, sees nothing wrong with it.
Why We Must Ration Health Care
Singer is quite blunt: we can't afford to give everyone the health care they want, so we need to prevent them from having it. The marketplace called the government should have the option of deciding who lives, who dies, and who gets which care along the way.
Rationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for from the public purse. If we ration we won’t be writing blank checks to pharmaceutical companies for their patented drugs, nor paying for whatever procedures doctors choose to recommend. When public funds subsidize health care or provide it directly, it is crazy not to try to get value for money. The debate over health care reform in the United States should start from the premise that some form of health care rationing is both inescapable and desirable. Then we can ask, What is the best way to do it?
These are the parts of Obamacare that concern doctors, nurses and patients. Doctors don't just pull treatments out of thin air. They prescribe treatments that they think will best solve your problem. Singer is dismissing the idea that a doctor actually knows better than the government what procedure best helps you. And he accepts the idea that of course we should ration health care. Because your insurance rations it already.
Well, not quite.
It's true that insurance companies refuse to pay for procedures it considers too costly or not effective. But you also have the option of paying more in premiums to have other coverage. That option is unavailable under Obamacare, since the health care bill out of the House essentially outlaws private insurance.
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.
It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:
"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.
So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.
This is precisely the poisoned pill we were told we wouldn't be expected to swallow. President Obama stated that you would be able to keep your insurance and keep your own doctor.
This is a hollow promise if the bill signed into law forces Americans into the public plan, but that's what Democrats have wanted all along. Of course, Americans want the impossible.
--84% are satisfied with their current health care.
--53% agree that health care is a human right.
--But only 39% would be willing to pay any more in taxes to insure every American. Opinion is split on whether taxes should be increased on families earning more than $250,000 per year as a way to accomplish that goal.
--People also oppose cost-cutting measures such as rationing expensive care, increasing deductibles and co-pays, raising the age for Medicare from 65 to 66 and decreasing payments to doctors and hospitals.
--Americans are closely split on the need to expand government's role in health care provision, with 48% opposed and 44% in favor.
--So, it follows that the public is also split on the need for a public plan "to keep the insurance companies honest," with 46% in favor and 45% opposed. Also, by 59% to 28%, people say a federal plan could undermine private insurance companies.
--A plurality opposes requiring everyone to purchase health insurance, with assistance for those who cannot afford it, by a 48% to 42% margin.
--However, when asked to rate the importance of insuring all, reducing costs or improving care, insuring all had the highest percentage of first-choice rankings with 42%. For both the other two, 28% ranked them first.
--Taxing employee health benefits for those who have expensive plans is very unpopular, with 52% saying it's a poor idea and just 7% saying it's an excellent one.