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Rational Rationing

August 14, 2009

Whew, good news: we can all relax about that health care rationing thing. Obama’s health care advisor Docteur Emanuel says he has totally changed his opinion on the issue during the last couple of years:

“I think that over the last five to seven years … I’ve come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care,” he said. “If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases.”

See: Emanuel doesn’t want to ration your health care (except, of course, in a few cases on which – the French Cowboy is confident – we can quickly find a consensus). He only wants to ration care when it becomes necessary to ration!

Now, Monsieur Emanuel believes that rationing won’t be necessary in more than just “a few cases” for a very scienterrific reason. He thinks that through eliminating “unnecessary care” enough savings will be made to pay for necessary care plus the optional care (the type of care that would get rationed away were it to become imperative to do so lest the nation suffocate under an unsustainable financial burden like $12 trillion of public debt – with Obama being fiscally prudent and all that that’s not going to happen.)

And what’s “unnecessary care”, you ask? Ah, you’re a difficult one, aren’t you. Well that’s the type of care nobody needs anyway. “But if nobody needs it, then why is it given in the first place?”, you want to know. Eh bien, because not every doctor and much less every patient is as smart as Obama’s team of experts is. You’ll probably be surprised in which areas those brilliant minds will find huge potential for savings.

So that’s the good news and another proof that Madame Palin is a stupid fear-monger (or evil-monger, as Harry Reid would say) for having actually taken Emanuel at his word when he wrote stuff like this:

“[S]ervices provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. […] An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia[.]”

Yet, instead of putting it so plainly, Monsieur Emanuel takes on a very understanding and patient tone, so perfectly befitting a doctor, and consoles the less enlightened:

The charges of rationing, or concerns about his language in journal articles, Dr. Emanuel said, is somewhat understandable given that he was “writing really for political philosophers, and for the average person it’s not what they’re used to reading, even if they’ve had a good liberal education.”

See, if you can only shake your head at the notion that someone suggests giving preferential health treatment to “individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years” – provided they are “participating citizens” bien sûr – then that’s because you aren’t used to that type of thinking. And you don’t have to! That’s why Dr Emanuel and experts like him are there: to make the hard decisions for you.

Is it better to foster the most productive so that the society can flourish materially, or should there be a possibility for the stronger ones to sacrifice for the weakest? Tough call. Is your demented grandmother’s contribution to society worth a costly surgery? Gee, who knows! But Monsieur Emanuel is willing to make the choice for you – in fact, he already knows how he would decide – and that’s why he’s counceling Obama on such issues.

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