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August 14, 2009


Brendan says Goldberg admitted that, "I don't think Obama's calling for a death panel here." Goldberg actually said that Obama didn't call for a death panel "if by death panel you mean something out of Logan's Run". As I read it, Goldberg went on to imply that Obama was calling for a "Death Panel" in another sense of the phrase. Brendan's objection is just semantics.

Brendan refers to the way the legislative process works. I'd say the way it works is that bills are submitted, then amended in both houses and further amended during reconciliation. Key parts of actual policy may be determined later by formal administrative decisions as well as particular administrative practices that are adopted. The courts might also change the meaning of the law. Then the law will be changed by subsequent laws.

So, if a position has support among the leadership, there's a real chance that it might become a part of the final law. Thus, comments in support of limiting care made by Obama and other influential people are important considerations in guessing how the final version of government health will actually operate.

Also, economic reality will affect how a law works. A law based on "1 + 1 = 3" cannot stand as written. Obamacare is supposed to pay for itself, but it won't, according to the CBO. Meanwhile, the government is running unprecedented deficits. IMHO we can be virtually certain that care will be rationed, because there simply isn't enough money to pay for everything.

Fair enough on the Goldberg quote -- I added the rest back in (even though I included the whole quote above).

A quote from Robert Reich shows why quibblilng over current wording in the various health bills is not a sufficient analysis:

Why aren't progressives—indeed, why aren't ordinary citizens—taking the meetings back?

Mainly because there's still no healthcare plan. All we have are some initial markups from several congressional committees, which differ from one another in significant ways. The White House's is waiting to see what emerges from the House and Senate before insisting on what it wants, maybe in conference committee.

Since there's still no healthcare plan, we should take with a grain of salt any definite statements, whether made by proponents or opponents. Given the uncertainty, it's appropriate to look at whatever clues we can find to help us guess the ultimate terms, including statements by various Plan advocates. In particular, a major article in the New York Times, an outlet decidedly opposed to Republicans, is relevant.

Shorter David: everyone knows the left is a monolithic ideological group in which all members think alike, therefore something that appears in the a newspaper 'opposed to Republicans' is by definition a true reflection of all leftist intentions and beliefs.

The idea that rationing is an informative label for a situation where there are not enough resources to go around is intriguing; perhaps we should rechristen classical economics 'rationing'. Perhaps the scaremongering opponents of reform can explain how any health care system can avoid the problem that there are never enough resources to provide everyone with the level of treatments that doctors would ideally like to offer, and never will be. Medical research programs ensure that new treatments become available much more quickly than the ability of the masses to afford them.

People who can afford it get better health care than those who can't. That's how things are now and that's how they will continue to be in future. The idea that this represents 'rationing' is an absurd misrepresentation.

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