Death Panels? They Are Called HMOs

Someone wrote an op-ed for Sarah Palin that is running in today’s Wall Street Journal. It couldn’t have been written by her because it consists of grammatical sentences. Being hard-core, Palin comes out with the old death panels argument against the public option and an increased government role in health care. She says: “But the fact remains that the Democrats’ proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we’ve come to expect from this administration.”

So are our HMOs and PPOs full of elected bureaucrats? Because the situation we are in now is that our profitable insurance companies decide now what treatment we can have. Is it better when private organizations ration treatment or jerk around their customers?

It is also immensely amusing to read about how over-arching government is under President Obama. This after 8 years of George W. Bush and a consistent erosion of basic civil liberties and government spending at levels that would have made Bill Clinton blush.

A mixed system of public and private is what most OECD countries enjoy and on most international standards of assessment Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden came out way ahead in the end-product, i.e. life-expectancy, cure rates, etc. If you don’t believe that check with the OECD and their assessments. For almost any illness I would prefer to be treated in Belgium, Holland or Germany than the U.S.

The right-wing in the U.S. has got to get over its hatred of government. The public sector can perform well and sometimes better than the private sector. Of course, government should be kept small and avoid taking on too much. Of course, we don’t want a slave society, but mature countries are trying to work out how best to mix public and private in several endeavors. At bottom government should protect people and that includes protecting their health. Defense, law-and-order, health, social security should be the key roles for government.