Yes, Virginia, There Is a Death Panel

I posted about this before, but it’s worth another one.

The New York Times admits that the most wonderful thing about Obamacare is that it will start saying NO to all of you bad, bad, subjects who think you have a right to as much health care as you need.

Extravagant health care will be reserved for the upper classes from now on. You know, like editors of the New York Times.

But you, dear little peon – You are being immoral by requesting more than your fair share of health care. After all, why should the rest of the country pay to extend YOUR rotten, miserable little life? What have you done? Have you worked for a great newspaper? No. your life is not worth all that much, and you must come to realize that.

Before Obamacare, it was a great crime when an insurance company restricted your health care in any manner. After Obamacare,the government will restrict your health care, far more than the insurance companies did. And now, the restriction becomes a great social good. David Leonhardt in the Times says:

How can we learn to say no?

The federal government is now starting to build the institutions that will try to reduce the soaring growth of health care costs. There will be a group to compare the effectiveness of different treatments, a so-called Medicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board that can set payment rates.

But all these groups will face the same basic problem. Deep down, Americans tend to believe that more care is better care. We recoil from efforts to restrict care.

Managed care became loathed in the 1990s. The recent recommendation to reduce breast cancer screening set off a firestorm. On a personal level, anyone who has made a decision about his or her own care knows the nagging worry that comes from not choosing the most aggressive treatment.

This try-anything-and-everything instinct is ingrained in our culture, and it has some big benefits. But it also has big downsides, including the side effects and risks that come with unnecessary treatment. Consider that a recent study found that 15,000 people were projected to die eventually from the radiation they received from CT scans given in just a single year — and that there was “significant overuse” of such scans.

From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can’t sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare’s long-term budget deficit will grow.

So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. “Being able to say no,” Dr. Alan Garber of Stanford says, “is the heart of the issue.

It’s easy to come up with arguments for why we need to do so. Above all, we don’t have a choice. Giving hospitals and drug makers a blank check will bankrupt Medicare. Slowing the cost growth, on the other hand, will free up resources for other uses, like education. Lower costs will also lift workers’ take-home pay.

Oh, yeah, education needs more money. Not sick, dying people. Obama just gave education 100 billion dollars to waste. Isn’t that wonderful? Now that your health insurance is governed by the government, you don’t just have to fight the insurance company. You have to fight every other interest in the country – do we need another performing arts center at the high school? Kill another 1,000 old people and we can have it!

It’s so funny. Democrat after Democrat lined up and told us how many thousands of people died because they could not get insurance.Now, the government is just going to kill a different set of people. The ones they decide don’t deserve the treatment. And so instead of 14,000 people dying every year, there will be 100,000. It’s all too gruesomely ironic.

Here they come

Walking down the street.

Get the funniest looks from

Everyone they meet.

Hey hey it’s the death panel

They’re the funkiest death panel ’round.

They’re too busy laughing

And cutting everybody off.

Hey hey it’s the death panel.


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