I missed this piece from Steven Rattner (who was a key figure in the Obama auto bailout) when it appeared in the NY Times a couple weeks ago. Tacitly acknowledging that costs are going to soar out of sight, Rattner opens with this frank admission: “We need death panels.” Jonah Goldberg wonders: When can Sarah Palin expect her letter of apology?”
Rattner goes on to back away from “death panels,” but instead uses the R-word: rationing.
Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.
But in the pantheon of toxic issues — the famous “third rails” of American politics — none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.
Take note, liberals: Rattner, an Obamanaut, has taken aim at the “entitlement” mentality. Next thing you know he’ll be muttering a certain number, like “47%.”
This is where it becomes tedious to explain why the Ryan premium support approach is superior. I know I’d rather have the flexibility to shop for an insurance package that is better suited to my likely medical needs in old age (knee replacements will surely come first, if I keep up with reviving my old running habits) rather than be subject to a one-size-fits-all approach the government will be compelled to put in place, and/or the arbitrary rationing decisions of a bunch of bureaucrats.
In the great struggle of our time between bureaucracy and markets, between centralized prescription and individual choice, it is useful to have the alternatives laid out clearly.