Why They Advocate Death Panels

Here’s Paul Krugman, darling of the Left, advocating “death panels.”

Krugman is only the most recent to make that argument in public. There have been a long line of Leftists arguing for denying care to save money. They include Dr.  Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the President’s former Chief of Staff,  Rahm Emanuel,  and Tom Daschle, the President’s medical policy adviser.

The key to understanding their argument is to realize that they are, politically, collectivists and central planners. They believe that the individual is part of a public hive and that they, the central planning geniuses,  should be in charge of determining for the rest of us what the greater good is.

Here’s a chart based on no particular data:

Bathtub Curve

What Does it Cost to Take Care of You?

This chart is called a “bathtub curve” and it represents a rough idea of what medical care costs for people of different ages. So we all know that babies and children go to the doctor a lot and they are sometimes born with serious medical problems.

On average, people from their teenage years to maybe their early fifties don’t have very large medical costs, mostly dental care, eye glasses and a pill or two. But as we age our problems increase. It’s not uncommon for older people to have a shelf full of pill bottles. And most of our lifetime medical expenses occur within the last six months of life, as indicated by the way the curve shoots toward the sky on the right side.

So people like Paul Krugman look at that and have a simple solution, we just won’t provide medical care to some of the very young and most of the very old, other than, as the President said, a “pain pill.” Look at how much money we could save if we could just cut off the beginning and end of the bathtub curve.

Does this make sense to you? It does if you are blinded by being a collectivist yourself. Ezekiel Emanuel has made it his life’s work to determine how to deal with medical scarcity. As a result, he and others advocate some formula to determine your worthiness to stay alive. You would get points for being a tax payer or otherwise “contributing to society.” If you are very young or very old, tough luck. The people who advocate all this actually consider themselves compassionate. No, really, they do!

But what happens to your thinking if you don’t buy in to the whole collectivist political philosophy? If you start thinking like an individualist you might conclude that your medical costs are not Paul Krugman’s business and neither are your housing, food or fuel costs. Those are all determined, in part, by life choices and values.

Maybe you want to save up during your youth for premium health care in your old age. Or maybe you would prefer to drive your SUV or hippie van around the country on a sight-seeing trip, sleeping in the back to save hotel costs. Or maybe you would like to have a big home instead of going on vacations.

Those choices, made by all of us, determine what resources are available. Unlike Dr. Emanuel’s fundamental premise of fixed, limited resources, a free market provides goods and services based on the demand for them. That’s one reason why our existing medical “system” is so screwed up: Government is so deeply involved in medicine now it distorts the market incentives and thereby distorts the use of resources to the point that we have high prices and shortages.

The collectivists, like Krugman, are prescribing more of the same for us. The “death panel” idea is inevitable for them, a natural outcome of three generations of failed collectivist policies. Notice Krugman also advocates for a VAT tax. We used to call them “tax and spend Democrats” but maybe we should start labeling them “tax and kill collectivists.”

Perhaps it’s time to consider a fundamental alternative to tax and spend or tax and kill, an alternative that, in every other sector, has yielded more availability and more choices at lower prices. In other words, maybe it’s time to consider Capitalism and freedom for a change.

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