Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there will be death panels

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









Yes, Virginia, there will be death panels

Jim Fedako



Death panels? Of course there will be death panels when the deal is done. Not in iterations one or two, when legal alternatives exists. But in the end, under total state control, death panels will exist -- they must exist.

A death panel implies an agency that functions as the final arbiter of life and death. Such a panel can only exist where no legal alternatives are available. In the first go-around, some agency (or agencies) will have the power and mission to limit care under certain conditions -- even the state must accept a world of scarcity. However, folks will still have market alternatives. These alternatives will not be free -- they never are. But they will exist, nonetheless.

Of course, once state control is complete, the agency will function as a death panel, or a life panel -- depending on your viewpoint, of course.

The agency will likely have a doublespeak name, something like the People's Health Agency. The agency will be deemed a provider of healthcare, not a denier of the same. So, for some, the agency will not be a death panel. But for many, this agency will limit lifesaving care. It will have to. For these folks, the agency will not provide. And with no alternative available, the agency's decision will be final, and it will be fatal.

The talk of death panels just around the corner is overblown rhetoric. But those very same panels are just over the horizon, on the path sought by many.

My short term fear is not death panels per se. My fear is the collective's fleeting memory of liberty. Just as folks today cannot imagine my state without an income tax (though the tax is only 37 years old), folks tomorrow will soon forget that the market can supply healthcare. And that means I will watch my children move one step closer toward total state control of their healthcare -- their lives. And that scares me.

Note: Today we have a model for a death panel: the FDA. This organization keeps lifesaving drugs from the market -- all in the name of health and safety. The belief that the state will not crack a few eggs to benefit the collective omelet is utter nonsense.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

And re: govt. takeover of healthcare. Doctors' offices are presently switching their records over from paper to computers. That way it will be easier for the govt. to gather up everyone's medical records. And formerly private medical offices are leaving private practice and hooking into hospitals. I was just informed that the private practice of a medical specialty office that I deal with is hooking up. Some of the docs are going in with St. Ann's and the others are going in with Riverside. Poof. They're no longer private. Pressured to do so, I was told.

Anonymous said...

Primary care practices are folding because of low reimbursement rates from private Ins. Co. in order to maintain their high profit margins (golden parachutes of big business). It is ashame that Medicare is now the # 1 best Ins. Co. for services! Physician's are hooking up with hospitals in order to cover their overhead because they cannot cover it now the way things are - facilities have to consolidate to make it. Everyone in healthcare, whether they have private or public health ins. is bound by HIPAA laws... in fact the government tends to be very regimented about this than some private office. Computerized health records cut costs & waste and also help prevent medical errors rlt illegibe writing -- this has nothing to do with the government getting into your file/records.... Stop listening to the hyped-up media and find out the facts... this may help the paranoia. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll just wait a wee bit until Nanny Gov gets into everybody's private medical records and adds them to the supercomputer...and then the anon apologist can post again. In addition those HIPAA laws are a joke. They should be called CYA laws.