Commentary Magazine


Nervous Yet?

If you weren’t scared about healthcare reform before, this report from the New York Times should do the trick. It recaps the president’s conversation about his grandmother’s care,  which led conservatives to think he was talking about rationing. But, in perfect double-speak, we’re told that’s not right:

Advocates on the other side of the debate reject the label. “I think Obama was trying to invoke the notion of tradeoffs more than rationing,” said Len Nichols, who directs the health care program at the New America Foundation, a Washington research organization. “Curative care for his grandmother was futile. Rationing is when efficacious care is denied to save money, perhaps to provide basic care to another, but nevertheless consciously denied.”

So  then “trade-off’s” are when . . . when what exactly? When we have to accept long waits? Or when doctors’ pay is cut so severely as to send people into different professions? Not clear. But prepare to hear about “trade-offs.” They must have found out that “rationing” focus-tests really badly.

And then mull over this from the president:

“There is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists,” Mr. Obama said. “And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance.”

We’ll now have a panel of wise men telling us whether grandma really needs the hip replacement, or if it’s more important to have abortion coverage than hospice coverage. What we won’t have apparently is you  purchasing your own coverage, deciding with your own doctor on your own care, or making choices without “government guidance.” Nervous yet?

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