Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Fear of "Health Care Rationing" is Stupid and Disingenuous

I can't think of a more disingenuous argument against the public option than that it will result in rationing. The idea is that the government's plan will only cover certain procedures and not others, (based on what some bureaucrats believe is necessary, cost-effective, etc.), and so some procedures will not be available. But that's false - every procedure will be available - it just won't be paid for by the government. In which case you have four options: (1) Buy a private plan instead that does cover the desired procedures; (2) Buy a smaller and cheaper private plan that is merely supplemental to your government one (of course, private insurance will look to fill any key gaps in the public one); (3) pay for non-covered procedures out of pocket or (4) don't get those procedures.

The idea that we don't want to government to take over because of rationing is contradictory. Either you think the government should ensure affordable health insurance, or it shouldn't. If it's the latter, then what do you care about rationing - as the government's supposed to pay for nothing anyway. Why would you then get worked up over it paying for less than everything?

If you're rich enough you'll always get great medical care. If you're not, you won't get everything you want. No matter what system we adopt, that will always be true.