Once the government decides it is in charge of health care, it has a say in everything you do (this, natch, was an argument of my book). Guns, diet, and cars are more relevant to our slightly lower life expectancy than insurance premiums and reimbursement rates, so of course Henry Waxman and Barbara Boxer and the rest of the gang are going to use their control over the health-care system as an excuse to go after those aspects of our lives. Why wouldn't they? They already want to influence those aspects of our lives now. Health care is really the only other policy area — after "the children" and global warming — that gives the State access to the most private spheres of our lives. Whenever someone says "it's a health-care issue" it's somehow supposed to trump traditional rights and liberties. That's what the push in the 1990s to make gun control a health-care issue was all about. That's why cameras once used to catch terrorists are now used to catch people eating in their cars in the U.K.
This isn't about better health care, folks. It is about P.O.W.E.R. If a person truly wanted to improve health care--and the lives of real people--then they might be interested in stats comparing current American healthcare and Britain’s NHS:
1. U.K.’s heart-attack fatality rate is almost 20% higher than America’s
2. Angioplasties in Britain are only 21.3% as common as they are here
3. NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer
4. Breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate; in Britain it’s almost double at 46%
5. Prostate cancer kills 19% of American and 57% of Brits
6. in 2006, a U.K-based board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took three years to get that outrageous decree reversed.
7. NICE will cut annual steroid injections for severe back pain from 60,000 to 3,000. Result? “It will mean more people on opiates, which are addictive and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky and has a 50% failure rate.”
8. Nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment
9. U.S. = 34 CT scanners per million; Britain = 8
10. U.S. = 27 MRI machines per million; Britain = 6
11. Brits wait twice as long to see a specialist than Americans
12. In U.S., recommended age for colon-cancer screening for men begins at 50. NHS starts at age 75.
13. Avastin, a drug for advanced colon cancer, is prescribed more often in the U.S. than in the U.K., by some estimates as much as 10 times more.
14. In U.K., 20% of potentially curable lung-cancer patients became incurable on the waiting list.
Thomas Sowell once wrote that the that political left have a major "investment in failure":
It is not just in Iraq that the political left has an investment in failure. Domestically as well as internationally, the left has long had a vested interest in poverty and social malaise.
The old advertising slogan, "Progress is our most important product," has never applied to the left. Whether it is successful black schools in the United States or Third World countries where millions of people have been rising out of poverty in recent years, the left has shown little interest.
Progress in general seems to hold little interest for people who call themselves "progressives." What arouses them are denunciations of social failures and accusations of wrong-doing.
One wonders what they would do in heaven.
We are in no danger of producing heaven on earth but there have been some remarkable developments in some Third World countries within the past generation that have allowed many very poor people to rise to a standard of living that was never within their reach before.
The August 18th issue of the distinguished British magazine "The Economist" reveals the economic progress in Brazil, Argentina, and other Latin American nations that has given a better life to millions of their poorest citizens.
Some of the economic policies that have led to these results are discussed in "The Economist" but it is doubtful that members of the political left will stampede there to find out what those policies were.
Go on! Take a wild stab at whether the policies involved allowed the "selfish" free market to operate; or whether they represented the latest in "selfless" tyranny.
Coincidentally, America as a whole is beginning to appreciate the "selfless" tyranny of complete leftist rule. We have the selfless-tyrant-in-chief, whose every move is calculated for our very own good--and, only incidentally, to keep himself in power by stacking the political deck (think ACORN, the recently articulated goals of the NEW, IMPROVED! Injustice Department, and all the usual double dealing and payoffs that America has come to associate with Chicago-style thug/politicians, who are easily mistaken by the left as god-like and worshipped.
It's just too bad for them that the "common folk" are beginning to wake up and smell something fishy.
In the same piece quoted above, Sowell went on to note:
Despite whatever the left may say, or even believe, about their concern for the poor, their actual behavior shows their interest in the poor to be greatest when the poor can be used as a focus of the left's denunciations of society.
When the poor stop being poor, they lose the attention of the left. What actions on the part of the poor, or what changes in the economy, have led to drastic reductions in poverty seldom arouse much curiosity, much less celebration.
The collapse of the global left is due to its pervasive intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Obama is the poster boy for this bankruptcy; and he carelessly and stupidly repeats all the mistakes of the left's past. This time he thinks it will work out because HE is the one in charge and he has cleverly repackaged all those failed policies in ribbons of hope and boxes of change.
But the disastrous policies he and the Democrats are trying to ram down America's throat remain out of touch with reality; and like all the despots before him, he and the clueless Democrats deliberately and callously ignore the actual consequences to real people. Like most people who wind up on the political left, they are truly only concerned with two main issues: feeling good about their moral superiority over the "common folk" (along with all the attendant preening self-righteousness and moral lecturing); and obtaining power over others (for their own good, and society's).
The statistics above--as well as the economic consequences of all their other policies--should pose a moral conundrum for any rational person who genuinely wants to improve the lot of the common man and the make the world a better place.
When you have no real principles except the desire for power over others, all moral conundrums are easy to resolve.