Monday, June 8, 2009

"The Utility of Wealth is Fairly Low if You're Dead"

"A far better alternative [to Obama's plan to nationalize health care] is to increase individual responsibility for medical decisions... When people aren't exposed to the true cost of their care -- though it is paid in foregone wages and higher taxes for public programs -- they consume more care... Increasing cost-sharing would discipline the health spending curve [by making prices explicit for consumers]...

"...Yet the entire Obama agenda is about increasing political, rather than individual, control of the health markets. [In a world of government-funded health care], all costs will climb even higher as people use far more 'free' care and federal spending will reach epic levels. Bureaucrats watching the bottom line will try to ration care while simultaneously locked in a death match with interest groups guarding their turf. Congress will join the fray and make things worse, as it always does. Caught in the political crossfire will be patients, as they always are.

"None of the complexities...would matter as much if the Obama Administration were merely trying to defossilize Medicare and save the federal fisc. But instead it is exploiting the looming bankruptcy of our current entitlements as a pretext to pass the largest entitlement expansion since 1965. And it is selling this agenda with a phony cost-control 'plan' that doesn't even exist."

-- Wall Street Journal

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