Friday, February 15, 2008

RMN Against Single-Payer Proposal

In the February 1, 2008 Rocky Mountain News, editorial page editor Vincent Carroll spoke out against the single-payer plan advocated by Congressional candidate Jared Polis:
CARROLL: Polis' rationing plan
By Vincent Carroll, Rocky Mountain News
Friday, February 1, 2008

If you're as rich as Jared Polis, you'll enjoy the world's best health care for the rest of your life no matter what happens to the system on which the rest of us rely. You can afford to roll the dice with a "national single payer health care system," which is what the Democratic candidate for the 2nd District congressional seat has announced he favors.

After all, you'll never experience the rationing of treatment that a single-payer regime inevitably entails.

Rationing? That's for people without a fortune. The superrich like Polis will simply bypass the insurance system, paying whatever it takes - here or anywhere in the world - for the best treatment money can buy.

Polis says his single-payer plan will involve (a) universal coverage and (b) the "same or better benefits" at (c) a lower cost for "95 percent" of families. He doesn't mention (d), the role of magic spells or incantations to bring this all to pass, but he should have.

"To date, other Western countries have been more successful in covering all citizens at a lower per capita cost, but they have done so only by limiting the availability of high-technology medicine." So writes former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm and co-author Robert Blank in their recent book, Condition Critical, A New Moral Vision for Health Care. And these guys are on Polis' side of the single-payer debate!

"Every single-payer health system has at its core some form of health-care rationing, including strict limits on expensive care, such as organ transplants, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants, and long waiting lines for elective surgeries," Lamm and Blank honestly acknowledge.

Do you suppose Polis will ever wait in line for elective surgery or forgo a chemo visit that the government refuses to cover?

Me neither. But he doesn't mind if you do.