Will health care reform lead to the rationing of medical care? M. Stanton Evans, author and journalist, argued that it certainly will in a recent Accuracy in Media Take AIM radio show. He also reminded listeners that the push for rationing in health care is far from a recent political phenomenon.
“…I know a lot about our system and I can tell you that the government has done about everything wrong vis à vis our health care system as it could possibly do,” said Evans, who penned the introduction to Accuracy in Academia’s recently published text Voodoo Anyone? How to Understand Economics Without Really Trying.
In the book, the late Christopher T. Warden argued that the current health care system is flawed largely because the government has separated consumers from health care costs and provided perverse tax incentives favoring employment-based plans, which further hide costs from consumers. The text was published posthumously, as former Troy University professor Warden passed away suddenly earlier this year.
AIA Executive Director Malcolm A. Kline noted that “…Chris actually covered every single one of these topics as both a beat reporter for Investor’s Business Daily, a freelancer before that, a radio reporter back in the early ‘80s, and he rose at Investor’s Business Daily to become editorial page editor.”
“But, as a beat reporter here in D.C., in Washington, D.C. back in ’93 he covered the entire HillaryCare, or, we should say, Clinton health care plan.”
Referring to the ongoing health care debate, Evans joked on the show that policymakers seem to have a “rendezvous with density.” “What you have, it’s just, I don’t know, I have a phrase for this Malcolm [Kline] and it’s a little parody of our president, great President Ronald Reagan and my version of it is: ‘We have a rendezvous with density,’” he said, continuing, “and it’s just like unteachable people, the same stuff over and over again, the same mistakes, the same policies that were proposed back then, here they are again and nobody’s learned anything, apparently…”
For example, in the ‘90s Republicans intent on cutting Medicare costs became convinced that health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) were “free-market institutions” because they were businesses, he argued. In contrast, Evans said that HMOs are a “nothing but rationing machines. That’s all they are.”
“The HMOs were a Ted Kennedy invention, at least legislatively, back in like ’72,” said Evans.
(The late Senator admitted as much himself. “As the author of the first HMO bill ever to pass the Senate, I find this spreading support for HMOs truly gratifying,” said Sen. Kennedy at a 1978 subcommittee hearing. He later condemned HMO rationing in 2001, according to the Institute for Health Freedom. “It is time to end the abuses of managed care that victimize thousands of patients each day,” argued Sen. Kennedy in 2001, according to IHF.)
Evans agreed with Sarah Palin’s assertion that the current bill would create death panels. “If your life depends on [a] decision of one of these boards of experts that President Obama talked about some months ago, and they deny you the care, then that’s a death panel and that’s what we face,” he said. Evans argued that Americans should look out for the phrases “quality of life” and “quality-adjusted life years,” which, when turned around, mean that there’s “such a thing as life that’s not worth living.”
Kline said that he thought that Warden, who included a chapter on health in Voodoo Anyone?, was uniquely placed to discuss this issue because “he knew [health care] both as a reporter who understood not just the statistics but the entire system, but he also knew it as a patient because he was a hemophiliac from birth” and because Warden “was that hard case that they always used to justify the national system, yet wouldn’t have gotten the care in a national system that he got here.”
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.