Thursday, December 24, 2009

Parker WSJ LTE on Health Care Entitlements

The December 23, 2009 Wall Street Journal published an excellent LTE by Dr. Richard Parker that cuts to the heart of the health care debate (second one down):
Scott Harrington rhetorically asks, "How can a new entitlement reduce deficits?" As he concludes, a massive new entitlement cannot and will not reduce government debt. As our experiences with Medicare and Medicaid have clearly demonstrated, whenever the government promises a "free" service, costs will necessarily rise as more and more people scramble to receive their share of "free" health care. Ultimately this can only lead to ballooning deficits and health-care rationing.

It is precisely this type of government intrusion in what should rightly be a free market that has caused health-care expenditures to skyrocket.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. This focus on costs, however, misses a more fundamental issue with the proposed nationalization of health care -- the rights of physicians and patients.

Under ObamaCare, patients will lose their freedom to choose what health care they receive and which doctor treats them. Physicians will lose the last of their freedom to practice according to their best judgment.

The battle for medicine will be lost or won not on actuarial analysis of costs, but rather on the more fundamental principle of the rights of individuals.

Richard Parker, M.D.
McKinney, Texas