By Wesley J. Smith
The New York Times uses its op/ed page as a supplement to its editorial page–that is, most of the articles published reflect the views of the editors. Letters to the Editor, too.
The NYT has called for health care rationing several times in the past and published articles by others supporting it. It did again on Saturday with an article by one of its opinion writers, a former Obama Treasury Department adviser, named Steve Rattner. From, “Beyond Obamacare:”
“WE need death panels.”
That’s what the technocratic class believes. We need to do away with the expensive and nonproductive rather than waste money caring for them. Back to Rattner:
“Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.”
Yes, all of us who warned that this was the agenda were such alarmists and conspiracy theorists, weren’t we? But we are right. …
The answer [to cost control]–-death panels! And it will be the Independent Payment Advisory Board based on NICE-style quality of life–again, just like I have been warning! [NICE is the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence—in effect the United Kingdom’s rationing board.]
“No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have systems for rationing care.
“Take Britain, which provides universal coverage with spending at proportionately almost half of American levels. Its National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses a complex quality-adjusted life year system to put an explicit value (up to about $48,000 per year) on a treatment’s ability to extend life. At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs. We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable.”
Never doubt me!
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s terrific blog.