Death Panels

Here’s a video of Bill Gates advocating “Death Panels” courtesy of the Mark Levin radio show, Breitbart TV and Naked Emperor News.

Notice how he laments laying off teachers as the result of  “huge medical costs that are not examined to see which ones actually have no benefit whatsoever.”

This exchange has a moral component, a political component and a scientific one. The scientific component is the easiest to explain (believe it or not) so let’s get that out of the way.

How do we determine which medical costs have “no benefit whatsoever?” And how do we determine who has “three months to live?” In both cases its a judgement. In both cases “experts” look at the condition of a patient and decide, based on their experience and the medical literature, what treatments will be effective and what the prognosis will be. That’s very, very, very different than a measurement, such as the distance between two points.

But how many times have you heard of the exception to the prognosis? How many patients would “never walk” or “live more than six months” that defied the prediction? Why do some patients respond to the common treatment and others only to a heroic one? Why do a few people live to the average age but many die young and others live far longer than the average? Why the disparity?

The reason is very, very important. It’s the difference between the statistical average and the individual result that contributes to the average. Sure, on average someone with a certain condition will only live, on average, so long. But, there are many individuals with the same diagnosis that live shorter or longer times or respond in different ways to medical treatments.

If you were picking a model of automobile for its reliability or cost of ownership it would hardly matter that you were making decisions on the average automobile data. But medicine is a life-and-death matter. And here’s where the moral component comes in. Who the hell is Bill Gates, or anyone, to determine who should live or die because he thinks teachers’ jobs are more important than sick people? Like most elitists, rich and not so rich, he’s very comfortable discussing condemning people to death who, in his opinion,  aren’t worth keeping alive.

The cold-hearted bastard isn’t a doctor, doesn’t work with sick people, has no education in medicine whatsoever (to use his word) but is confident he knows that some treatments, administered by medical professionals, have “no benefit whatsoever.” The opinion of his victims or their doctors doesn’t seem to matter to Bill. He would probably be offended if  a computer programmer pointed out that some Windows upgrades have no benefit whatsoever.

Bill offers no examples of ineffective treatments and presents no data on how much money they represent. He just picks a million dollars and a hundred thousand teachers out of thin air so he can argue against the sixteen century old Hippocratic Oath. You see, Bill considers himself smarter than both your doctor and Hippocrates.

The political and economic issue here is collectivism versus individualism and individual rights versus tyranny. Do a few politicians or a voting majority have the right to make life-and-death decisions for the rest of us? Some of you will respond that there is no choice, that medical resources are limited and someone has to decide how these resources are “distributed.”

If you’ve never considered another possibility then perhaps you need a little paradigm shift and and tutoring about what the Founders were all about. What if resources are not limited? For instance, what if half the driving population wanted to drive a Hummer? Or, what if half the driving population wanted a Toyota Prius? Is there a doubt in anyone’s mind that corporations would work day and night to fill the need? Why should medical care be any different?

Free economies deliver goods and services based on demand not death panels. Collectivist and Socialist countries are always plagued by shortages, to the extent they are purely collectivist, because the manufacture of goods and services is not determined by market forces but by the Central Committee. In countries dominated by the politics of individual rights and free markets there are no real shortages, only choices. You can choose to have “Cadillac” heath care and live frugally otherwise or you can choose to have minimal health care and spend your money on vacations. It’s your money, the result of your effort, and up to you how you spend it, not Bill Gates.

Of course, for elitists, such as Bill Gates, and politicians bent on power over you, allowing you to choose what you want to do with your own life and your own money is an anathema. And the way these elitists and politicians get power over your life is by promising you a free lunch and an easy existence. When you vote for “free” health care you are voting to lose control over your own health, your own body, your own life.

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