Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rationed by income

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen on the Paul Ryan budget plan:
This Republican Plan simply rations health care and choice of doctor by income.
What bizarre rhetoric for a US politician in one of the country's major political parties to use. Everything we buy that is not subject to government price controls, directly or indirectly, is "rationed" by income. In the vernacular, this simply means the thing in question has a price to be paid by the person who wants to consume it, as everything must in a free market. The car, the house, the soap, and the sandwich you buy are all rationed by income, or more precisely, by money. It's basic supply and demand, the most rudimentary concept in economics.

I don't follow mainstream political punditry very closely, though I've not heard it being seized on by the popular right. Maybe the Rasmussen poll from a couple of years ago finding only a very slight majority of the public saying capitalism is a better economic system than socialism means it's rhetorically trickier than I'd imagine it to be, and maybe public sentiment is in favor of shielding health care costs entirely from the individual and collectivizing them in their entirety, but Van Hollen's statement reveals a socialistic mindset if ever one did--the idea that if an individual must pay the market rate for something, that thing is being "rationed", with all the negative connotations that go along with such a word choice in contemporary America.


Anonymous said...

Having the free market determine the health care that the individual receives is to say if you can't afford it, you die. Most people don't really like that alternative. They would embrace rationing and death panels before that alternative.

Anonymous said...

"Having the free market determine the health care that the individual receives is to say if you can't afford it, you die."

Gee, I thought we all die. Did I miss something?

The choice isn't between death and life.

The choice is between long expensive death and faster cheaper death.

We aren't going broke providing basic care like vaccines and appendectomies. It is those months and years of profound incapacitation in old age. Folks used to change their parents diapers and spoon feed them. Now they send them to nursing homes to have low IQ immigrants do it.

It works if the collective only has a few to provide for. It doesn't work when 20% of the people are elderly and it costs $5000 a month just for the butt wiping and spoon feeding.

Wegie said...

Taking money from one and giving it to another is is called STEALING!

silly girl said...

"The choice is between long expensive death and faster cheaper death."

My friend was a physical therapist. She said that if a patient had insurance, they would keep ordering physical therapy even though the patient was 80 with terminal cancer and in a coma.

It's all about the $$$$

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Baby Boomers, as they will go to their deaths kicking and screaming. Why do you think they got stirred up over death panels?

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Christians. They are the ones who scream the loudest when you suggest they begin their better existence with their God in Heaven.

silly girl said...

I look at it this way. We have all these non-paying health care consumers. So, whenever providers get a patient who can actually pay they will do everything they can for him, regardless of whether he needs it, because they can get paid. Our system is so overloaded with indigents, it is the only way to make money. So the overcharged paying customer makes it possible for the indigent to get free care.

Audacious Epigone said...


If individuals are required to pay "out of pocket" for any aspect of their health care, that health care is being "rationed by income".

If the presumption is that all people should be able to obtain top notch medical care at all times irrespective of their means, the idea that health care costs will do anything other than continue to skyrocket is risible.

Stopped Clock said...

Well you just have to see the difference between "good" discrimination and bad discrimination.

Democrats saving money in the budget by cutting Medicare and Social Security is good! After all, it has to happen some day, may as well slip it into the Healthcare Reform bill so people won't realize it's in there until it's too late.

Republicans saving money by cutting Social Security and Medicare is BAD! They're just doing it because they don't like old people.

Democrats raising taxes on the middle class is good! After all, we need the money to pay for this bill we just came up with. In fact we wanted to raise taxes on the poor too but the Congress told us No.

Republicans raising taxes on the middle class is BAD! After all, theyre just doing it to feed their buddies in the oil companies. Or something.

Democrats exempting health insurance companies that serve low income beneficiaries from the new rules of the healthcare plan is good! After all, if they're poor, they'll take what they can get, so why should healthcare companies bother actually paying for their medical costs?

Republicans rationing health care by income is BAD! Even though they're not actually proposing that, we need to make people believe they are so that they'll vote Dem in the next election!

lil mike said...

I think Stopped Clock pretty much has it. Obama's budget plan (well more speech than plan) that he gave last week to counter Ryan's plan brought back his much denied and only real chance to cut costs: Rationing via the IMAC.

Ryan wants to cut costs by gradually increasing the patient share of costs as the "premium support" grows slower than the cost of healthcare.

Obama wants to have limit the actual procedures and medical services by having a government agency determine what services it's going to cover at what age. Something that the UK has.

Obama won't say it, but he's in favor of changing Medicare too, to one that limits care to fewer and fewer treatments as one ages.