Free Markets, Free People

Death Panels? What death panels?

Rationing?  Never.  “Death panels?”  No such thing! When government runs your health care they won’t act like those evil insurance companies that deny you treatment.  Wasn’t that the promise?

A controversial new policy by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System depriving hepatitis C patients coverage for liver transplants is effectively a death sentence that, left unchecked, could have far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans afflicted with chronic viral hepatitis, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) said today.  

The new coverage exclusion governing liver transplants took effect Friday as part of broader Medicaid coverage changes made by the state of Arizona in response to budgetary pressures.

I’m not here to call for unlimited spending or every procedure to be okayed. I understand budget constraints.

However, critics have said that the sort of rationing and denial of care that is demonstrated above was an inevitable outcome of government taking over health care.  Those that referred to this type rationing as “death panels” were denigrated and demonized. 

Now I understand that while Medicaid is a government run program, it is a state run program that is subsidized by the Federal government to some extent.

But ObamaCare has pushed new mandates down on the states by expanding coverage and the states are faced with making literal life and death decisions concerning the affordability of care for those in their system.  This is only one of many “death panel” decisions that are going to eventually effect the lives of millions.

All foretold and inevitable. 

In other ObamaCare news more of the foretold and inevitable:

3M Co., citing new federal health laws, said Monday it won’t cover retirees with its corporate health-insurance plan starting in 2013.

Instead, the company will direct retirees to Medicare-backed insurance programs, and will provide reimbursement for that coverage. It’ll also reimburse retirees who are too young for Medicare; the company didn’t provide further details.

Apparently after reviewing the law 3M concluded that even with a subsidy offered in the legislation, it was more costly to keep the coverage than abandon it:

Maplewood-based 3M (NYSE: MMM) is one of the first large companies to indicate that it won’t tap a large federal-government reimbursement program created by Congress as part of the health insurance reform package, The Wall Street Journal reported. The rebate program was meant to encourage employers to keep in place their health-insurance plans for retirees.

Obviously, by 3M’s reading of the law, the “federal-government reimbursement program” didn’t offset the cost of keeping retirees in the system.  As you see more and more of these stories pop up – and you will – you have to begin to wonder if this isn’t a deficiency by ignorance or design – a bug or a feature.

As this goes on, you can’t help but feel it is more the latter than the former as such actions by companies move us closer and closer to a single payer system.  And when that inevitably happens, it will be characterized as the fault of greedy corporations and, of course, “market failure”.

Fair warning.

(HT: Rod F)



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11 Responses to Death Panels? What death panels?

  • Yep.  This bill was designed to finish off the system.  Universal Socialized Medicine was actually the next step. 

    And given a choice between no insurance and socialized medicine, numbers are probably on the Socialist’s side at that point. 

    • depends which numbers. Socialized medicine is expensive, even with rationing. The result will either be spending we can’t afford, or crappy care we won’t put up with (Americans are not ready for Cuban quality care of English 1940s quality care . . . we know what good care its).

      Socialized medicine is failing worldwide, but it will fail quickly here because we are spoiled in terms of quality care, and we can’t depend upon some other country to protect us like the euros can.

      • My point is that socialism fails. The key is understanding that socialism fails because it can’t work, and the solution is free markets. The Greeks mostly don’t seem to understand this. If the majority of Americans understand this–I think we do–we will come out of it ok.

      • Not saying socialism isn’t fraught with failure.
        Just saying how the public will swing when the current system implodes thanks to HCR.

  • Click the link for the story of a homeowner who was refused treatment for a pre-existing condition:

    • The homeowner had the opportunity to opt into fire protection coverage provided by the nearby town for $75.00 a year, and he declined to do so: penny-wise and pound-foolish, as Poor Richard might have said.
      $75.00/yr.  v.  $xxx,xxx.00 value of house.
      He gambled and lost. Most ironic is that he himself was responsible for the fire, obviously he did not set out to deliberately burn his house down, but nonetheless….

      • I agree with you.  I think that most telling was the homeowner’s admission that he figured that they would put out the fire even though he had not paid the fee.  Entitlement thinking at its finest: “they couldn’t possibly do something so cruel as to allow a house to burn down, so why should I pay them?

    • What a strange way to save $75.  I suspect there will be a line of people who are now willing to pay $75 a year for fire fighting services.

      • Indeed. And if the firefighters had helped this guy, most of the people that had previously paid the money would not renew. Why pay for something that, when push comes to shove, they’ll give you for free?

  • The critics of the “death panel” observations and defenders of the Obama healthcare always knew that the only way to “bend the cost curve” was to ration care.

    They’ve been subcontracting that nasty job to the health insurance companies for decades, based upon contractual details of the policies. But it hasn’t worked that well, because the coverages expand as employers contracted for more comprehensiove and more expensive coverages.  Much to the governments chagrin, because that represented potential taxes bypassing the Treasury, since the employer provided life insurance is fully deductible as a business expense, and not subject to income tax under the employee.  Can’t have that!

    So now the gov’t elbows aside the health insurance companies, to take over the job.  Of course they’ll have to ration care.  And not by contractual agreement anymore.  It’ll be by policy and regulation, totally taking any choice out of the hands of the health care consumer.

    They knew about “death panels” from the beginning.  They just had to lie to us about them.