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Death Panels - David's Journal

About Death Panels

Previous Entry Death Panels Aug. 14th, 2009 @ 08:29 am Next Entry
I tried getting my thoughts out on Twitter, but this issue is too complicated for 140 character posts (not that I didn't try - Twitter Gadget is down so that finally convinced me to change forums). My comments are in reference to the NY Time's article on the "False 'Death Panels' Rumors". This is another example of the NYT posting an Op-ed posing as journalism. As with every NYT health care Op-Ed in the last few weeks, the authors continue the "Republicans are being mean again" refrain.

In the article, they "report" that "There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure."

This is fundamentally misguided. This is another attempt by socialization advocates to hide from any implications of health-care "reform". For example, Obama keeps claiming (disregarding his contradictory comments during the primary) that the legislation does not imply a "single-payer". As many commentators have pointed out, any government run insurance implies that the government will set the terms for every other insurer and will eventually become a monopoly. Don't believe me? Just try competing with the USPS on first-class letter delivery - it can't be done because the gov't has effectively infinite resources to "compete", which means that it can always increase taxes and allocate more to its delivery "business".

Similarly, the death panels issue, while not specifically in the legislative proposals, is in a way implied by the legislation. The more intellectually honest proponents of socialization (e.g. Peter Singer) have pointed out that rationing is inevitable. Since socialization would effectively do away with any sort of "price-rationing" (Singer's awkward term for individual cost-benefit analysis), health care must be rationed or else the cost goes to infinity (what rational person wouldn't attempt to take more than his "fair share" from the health care garden?). Under socialized care, if a senior is facing the choice between an inordinately expensive operation to extend his life a month and death, suddenly that senior's death is in my self-interest as a payer into the system (it would both lessen my costs and increase my access to the health care garden). How to mitigate such conflicts of self-interest? Death panels are really not that far off.
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