Monday, August 17, 2009

The Brilliant Mark Steyn on "Unplugging Grandma"

This is the most important reason out the many that I don't want healthcare to be changed by government. Our healthcare does need revamping, there are so many things that cab be done to cut costs and make it affordable for more people, but the solution should never be the government.

The problem with government health systems is not that they pull the plug on Grandma. It's that Grandma has a hell of a time getting plugged in in the first place. The only way to "control costs" is to restrict access to treatment, and the easiest people to deny treatment to are the oldsters. Don't worry, it's all very scientific. In Britain, they use a "Quality-Adjusted Life Year" formula to decide that you don't really need that new knee because you're gonna die in a year or two, maybe a decade-and-a-half tops. So it's in the national interest for you to go around hobbling in pain rather than divert "finite resources" away from productive members of society to a useless old geezer like you. And you'd be surprised how quickly geezerdom kicks in: A couple of years back, some Quebec facilities were attributing death from hospital-contracted infection of anyone over 55 to "old age." Well, he had a good innings. He was 57.

This ought to be of particular concern to Americans. As is often pointed out, U.S. life expectancy (78.06 years) lags behind other developed nations with government health care (United Kingdom 78.7, Germany 78.95, Sweden 80.63). So proponents of Obamacare are all but offering an extra "full year" of Euro-Canadian geriatric leisure as a signing bonus.

As they say read the whole thing.

As a side note, this whole discussion about government run healthcare reminds me of on of my favorite films: The Barbarian Invasion. It's a nuanced look at a dying professor and his estranged son. I actually think it argues eloquently for the breakdown of socialized health care. The only way for the father to get a private room is for the son to pay off union hacks. In fact the son is pure capitalist, while the father is the poster child for socialist aging academic. The film isn't dogmatic, it doesn't pound you over the head with which philosophy is better, hence the nuance I was speaking of before. The movie is actually incredibly witty and moving, really worth seeing.
Here's Ebert & Roeper reviewing it, you can get a (small)sense of the film.

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