The New York Times “reports” today that fears of rationing under government health coverage are “unfounded.” After all, some “expert” says that “our culture is not going to allow that,” and — let’s be honest with ourselves — if there is anything that management consultants know, it is American culture. And the news story goes on to report that “few health policy experts see the likelihood of lawmakers’ adopting some sort of new system in which government bureaucrats decide whether someone’s grandfather can get his hip replaced or a wife can have her cancer treatment paid for.”
Now, I read the New York Times only infrequently; but someone, anyone, please tell me that this is not the best that it has to offer. Whom does the reporter think he’s kidding? What possible course will the federal bureaucracy pursue when limited resources meet metastasizing demands? Obviously, one early squeeze will be on the doctors and hospitals: and as reimbursements decline can anyone believe that access will not decline simultaneously? After all, that is what we see now under both Medicare and Medicaid, and a massive expansion of health-care socialism will not reduce such pressures. Does the V.A. drug formulary offer all the drugs approved by private insurers? In a word: Nope. Etc. And precisely what is the purpose of the newish comparative-effectiveness review process?
What is interesting, to a naive sort like me, anyway, is the lengths to which such party organs as the New York Times are willing to go to promote their political goals, notwithstanding the attendant erosion of their own credibility. These arguments are so spurious, and so easily refuted, that the reporter must actually believe them. This is further evidence that most journalists were political-science majors who couldn’t get into law school.
– Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.