Friday, September 12, 2008

When the Private Sector Fails, it means we Need More Government. When the Government Fails, it means...Nothing.

You’re hungry.

Why are you hungry? Heck, I don’t know. Maybe you forgot your lunch. Maybe somebody stole it. Maybe your buddy skipped out on his turn to buy. Maybe the government soup line ran out of bread.

Your fault; somebody else’s fault; nobody’s fault. I dunno.

Does it matter? To your stomach, I mean? Are you any less hungry in one case than in another?

Some of us would say: yes. In one of those cases – the government soup line – your hunger isn’t nearly as bad. Because, you see, the government is providing the food. Therefore, eating is universal. Everybody gets food without having to rely on the trickeries and vagaries and greed of “the market.”

Well, yeah, you went hungry today. Still, it’s better. Trust us.

Does that make sense? It does – it must – to those who support “universal,” government, single-payer, socialized medicine.

Such people are quick to jump on any unmet or under-met need. Any example of someone going without – or going without the best – because it’s too expensive, or their insurance wasn’t good enough, or the insurance company refused to pay.

They love that last one.

And they have a point: the free market isn’t perfect. Capitalism – for-profit health care – won’t supply everyone with everything they want, or even, sometimes, everything they need.

As long as we live in a predominantly capitalist, free-market society (arguable, I know), we will continue to see stories about people struggling to make ends meet. Struggling to afford basic needs.

Many of those doing the struggling will see those stories on their own TVs in air-conditioned apartments, but that’s beside the point.

People struggle in a free market sometimes. So, the compassionate among us say: end the for-profit system. The government shall provide!

And how’s that working out? Well, in Britain, doctors aren’t telling their patients about new cancer treatments (hat tip Right Wing News):

Myeloma UK, which conducted the research, said a quarter of myeloma (bone marrow cancer) specialists…admitted hiding the facts about treatments that may be difficult to obtain on the NHS.

The main reason given was to avoid distressing or confusing patients.

…doctors candidly revealed how they struggled with NHS bureaucracy and cost-cutting to obtain the best treatments for their patients.
If that were a private insurance company scaring doctors into submission with the bureaucratic equivalent of camouflaged pits and barbed wire, the outcry would drown out a Sarah Palin rally.

But it’s not: it’s the government. So that’s okay, then.

It was okay last month, too, when it was the Oregon Health Plan refusing the latest treatment to a woman with terminal cancer, but offering to pay for euthanasia, instead.

Before that, it was surreptitious attempts to ration care. Patients dying while on waiting lists. Doctors debating whether to offer care to smokers, the elderly, the obese. Canada sending women with complicated pregnancies into the U.S. for care. It’s the state of Massachusetts facing ungodly and unsustainable cost increases, and Congress debating cuts in Medicaid reimbursements to doctors.

But…feh. So what? People going without? Unable to access the best or newest care? Unable to access any care?

If it were the free market doing that, then we’d have a problem. Then it would be wrong. Unbearable. Intolerable. A crime.

But it’s the government, so…

Somehow, that’s supposed to make going without…better.


Steve Burri said...

#4 on Conservative Grapevine list today!

Donald said...

Well said. Thanks Steve.


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