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Pushing the Lie, Again

June 25th, 2011

Republicans are revisiting death panels, saying that characterization didn’t go far enough:

Democrats like to picture us as pushing grandmother over the cliff or throwing someone under the bus. In either one of those scenarios, at least the senior has a chance to survive. But under this IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] we described that the Democrats put in “Obamacare,” where a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy, I guarantee you when you withdraw that the patient is going to die. It’s rationing.

— Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), June 22, 2011

Number one: Given the false choice, would you rather have your medical funding decided by bureaucrats, who at least might possibly be under the impression that you pay their salary and so they work for you, or by private insurance company lawyers who are paid specifically to deny you any medical treatment they can possibly arrange?

Number two: this kind of “bureaucratic rationing” already occurs under Medicare. I had no idea all of them were doomed to die. Well, eventually–but then, so are we all, no matter what. But I am pretty sure that’s not what people like Gingrey mean. Programs like Medicare demonstrate that when the state controls the system, it is less likely to deny treatments. Private corporations have shown they are more than willing to do so if there’s a buck in it. And if cuts are necessary, plans like the Affordable Care Act will consult doctors, not bureaucrats. Oh, and the ARA allows you to choose between systems, where government-run care would only survive if it did a better job treating you.

Number three: rationing occurs when there is less money to be spent. With private firms skimming as much as 30% off the top, and programs like Medicare being much more efficient than private-sector programs, government-run programs will not have to ration nearly as much as is happening now.

Number four: unless they are sabotaged from within by Republicans, programs like the Affordable Care Act will end up saving us a lot of money. The problem: we’d pay out in taxes more than fees. And Americans hate taxes so much, they’d rather pay a $100 fee than a $50 tax. Just like they fear bureaucrats more than they fear corporate lawyers. I think it’s kind of how people fear terrorist attacks more than traffic accidents, or shark attacks more than crossing the street. We fear what we are told to fear.

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  1. Troy
    June 25th, 2011 at 11:32 | #1

    you missed the big lie:


    “where a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care”

    vs reality:

    “where a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether the insurance program pays for your care”

    Krugman finally wised up to this gambit last month and called out the Republican liars on this IIRC.

    of course, “bunch of bureaucrats” is also demagoguing the issue.

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