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The real issue of health care reform

It’s not the cost. Health care is expensive regardless of whether it’s paid for with private or public funds.

The real issue, which is made crystal clear by bioethicist Peter Singer (who has argued that parents should be allowed to kill their children up to the age of two if having a child is not in the family’s best interests), is empowering government to literally put a price on your life.

Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for.
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.

Singer leaves out the point that we also ration health care by deciding what we’ll pay for. Under a publicly funded system, anything and everything that impacts the cost of the program — i.e., your health, and how it’s affected by what you eat, drink, or smoke; how much you exercise; and so on — becomes the government’s business.

And ultimately, decisions of life and death regarding your loved ones fall not to you, but to a government health care bureaucrat with an actuarial table. THAT is the issue. And with eugenics becoming fashionable again, I’m not at all optimistic about how this plays out.

Remember, Soylent Green is people.

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