Monday, March 15, 2010

One More Reason to Hate Obamacare

As if we really needed one. Dean at BwD has an excellent post about the politicization of health treatment regimes under New Zealand's system of socialized medicine. Virginia Postrel (on the right, via Instapundit) talks about her personal experience in donating a kidney and getting breast cancer in the embedded video.

She also has a thoughtful article on the perils of Obamacare to the progress of medicine itself in The Atlantic. (What does the term progressive mean?) She leads with the provocative quote, "If I lived in New Zealand, I'd be dead" which she later qualifies. But for me the key issue is this:

The American health-care system may be a crazy mess, but it is the prime mover in the global ecology of medical treatment, creating the world’s biggest market for new drugs and devices. Even as we argue about whether or how our health-care system should change, most Americans take for granted our access to the best available cancer treatments—including the one that arguably saved my life.
As one might expect, the readers of The Atlantic are not amused and her article generated considerable comment. Postrel answers them in a follow on article and talks specifically to the myth of cost cutting.

Wiping out administrative costs, often cited as an advantage of centralized health-care systems, might reduce the cost of care to a lower level, but those costs would continue to rise. The growth of medical expenditures in the U.S. is not caused by administrative costs but by increases in the technical intensity of care over time—a.k.a. medical progress. The technocratic magic of “scrutiniz[ing] new treatments for effectiveness,” as described in a January New Republic article, could limit cost increases only by denying patients some of the care they want and by blocking the adoption of newer and more expensive treatments. We know that Americans hate such limits.
Exactly. Americans hate such limits for good reason, we want to be able to save our lives and pay for it if need be. With health care insurers among the least profitable industries in the land and the government's experience of administering Medicare ripe with fraud, we know that we won't even save money on this God-forsaken plan; but we do know it will kill innovation. Now there's a bargain I don't want to make.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link.

    The more I read about what's in this bill, the more I absolutely hate.

    There. I did indeed cop to some hatred.