Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Socialized Medicine

We've kept our posts limited on the socialized medicine topic in the past. If you're an avid Ushanka.us reader, then chances are any criticisms of government healthcare will be redundant. We want to provide new info on the communist-inspired among us.

We also, however, feel obliged to do our duty as the author of the last chapter in American history, so we will be posting on the topic when we see new information. Here is our first post with the new label: Healthcare.

First, perspective from Mark Steyn in a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt:

...if you’re a Democrat, what it [socialized medicine] does is it changes the relationship between the citizen and the state. It alters the equation. If you provide government health care, then suddenly all the elections, they’re not thought about war and foreign policy, or even big economic questions. They’re suddenly fought about government services, and the level of government services, and that’s all they’re about, because once you get government health care, the citizens’ dependency on government as provider is so fundamentally changed that in effect, every election is fought on left wing terms. And for the Democratic Party, that is a huge, transformative advantage.

The best positioned to fight against government healthcare and to educate the American public are the private insurance companies. They've folded, as explained in today's WSJ Editorial, Signing On to an Obama 'Dream':

Yesterday a coalition of private health-system providers, seeing no exit from the administration's reform plans, signed on to the dream.
The private groups are calculating that they can better influence this year's bill if they're "partners" instead of villains. They've no doubt seen what happened to Wall Street and Chrysler bondholders. All the same, they must surely know they have made a Faustian bargain that in time will result in price controls and restrictions on care.
Democrats have now acknowledged that the managed care dream will work only if government is the one doing the managing. That is, we can only control costs with a new government entitlement. More is less.

But you can only allocate a scarce resource in two ways: market prices or brute force. In health care the brute force will come as price controls and waiting lines for rationed services. The implicit assumption in the providers' deal announced yesterday seems to be that the private companies will do the price controlling so the government won't have to do it for them.

But when the savings prove illusory, as in the past, the feds will step in and order them to do so.
The only benefit here is that it is now possible to see where this issue is headed: A new legislated entitlement for the middle class will ensure that the next great health-care argument to engulf the political system is going to be over how and when to ration care.

Conservative press responses to Obama's healthcare inspirations fall into two categories: those that identify this as an evil idea with no historical success to credit and plenty of historical support to oppose. And those that have surrendered, like the insurance companies, who are now looking at the details and negotiating small changes. We will not post from the latter group.

One wonders: Will Obama get his healthcare plan enacted before the Mexican government provides treatment for its citizens diagnosed with the H1N1 virus?

UT: Hugh Hewitt

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