Your Choice

Let’s play a little hypothetical game. You’re the government official in charge of granting or denying funding requests for new medical treatments. You have twenty million dollars to allot, and two requests on your desk for precisely that amount.

Application #1 would save the lives of 1,000 newborns.

Application #2 would extend the lives of 3,000 seniors.

You can only grant one of them. You can’t split the money — it has to go to one or the other. You have to decide which is a better investment.

Which do you choose to fund?

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The instant you started debating the merits of the two, you engaged in “rationing.” You were putting yourself in the position of deciding — purely on financial grounds — who would live and who would die. You started putting dollar signs on human lives, and assessing how much the lives of the elderly were worth when compared to the newborn.

Yes, I set you up. But there was no reason to play along. You were under absolutely no compulsion to abide by my rules, to play my little game. You could have said “that’s a false choice” and rejected the scenario, as I’m sure some of you did. (And even more will claim to have done.)

But that’s a simple fact. Any time you have finite resources, especially where the demand for them outstrips that supply, you’re going to have some form of rationing. The only question is who decides how they they are allocated.

No, not “how they are allocated.” “Who.”

Under our current system, it’s the owners of those resources that decide. The providers, the pharmaceutical companies, the medical supplies and devices people, the insurance companies. And they use their own criteria. Hospitals, by and large, use a modified “communist” approach — it’s mostly an “as-needed” basis. The businesses that support them use a pretty much capitalistic angle — whatever the market will bear (without drawing down too much public backlash). And the insurance companies try to strike a happy medium — doing what they need to do to keep the public happy, while still pleasing their owners. (They don’t do that too well, but that’s their ideal.)

Under the Democrats’ plan, though, that will all get tossed out the window. Instead, one central authority — the federal government — will be deciding how to allocate those resources. Instead of those people whose very livelihoods depend on their understanding of the business end of health care deciding how to best balance the public good and their own good, federal bureaucrats.

You know. The same kinds of bureaucrats who ran Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The same kinds of bureaucrats who ran the Postal Service into a multi-billion-dollar deficit. The same kinds of bureaucrats who are now running GM and Chrysler.

The same kinds of bureaucrats who will make damned sure that they never have to use the system they will create and maintain. They’ll get the “Cadillac” plans for themselves — because, after all, if anything happened to them, who would run the system for us plebes and proles?

A Perpetually Pending Crisis
The Backlash Begins