RATIONING U.S. HEALTH?

June 29, 2006

The Citizens Health Care Working Group spent $5.5 million, visited 50 communities and heard from 23,000 Americans (mostly by taking polls), asking what health care system they wanted.  Commissioning Gallup would have been far less expensive.  Also, Gallup surveys are random, says John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The results were predictable, says Goodman:

  • Citing findings that Americans get the right care only half the time and even then in inappropriate settings, the Working Group proposes laws requiring that people "get the right care at the right time and at the right place."
  • The report says that people are entitled to any and all care (physical, mental, dental) without regard to age, health conditions or ability to pay. Even the terminally ill should get whatever "kind of care they want for (their) last days."
  • Lip service is paid to the idea of limiting a core package of health insurance benefits to evidence-based care. (But they could not even agree to omit cosmetic surgery.)

There is not the slightest hint that anyone, anywhere will ever have to choose between health care and other goods and services, says Goodman.  In fact, this group wants to make it a matter of law that there will be no hard choices, no difficult trade-offs, no cost-benefit analysis. (Thus, cutting through the Gordian Knot that has stumped so many other scholars.)

The document comes dangerously close to plagiarizing Aneurin Bevan and Sir William Beveridge, who said almost identical things more than 60 years ago -- right before they established a system that did the exact opposite of everything that was promised and has been rationing British health care ever since, says Goodman.

Source: John C. Goodman, "Rationing U.S. Health?" American Conservative Union Foundation, June 26, 2006.

 

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