Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Death panels would save money

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Think about people on the right. They're simultaneously screaming, they're going to send all of the old people to death panels and it’s not going to save any money. That’s a contradictory point of view.

TAPPER: Death panels would save money, theoretically.

KRUGMAN: The advisory path has the ability to make more or less binding judgments on saying this particular expensive treatment actually doesn’t do any good medically and so we’re not going to pay for it. That is actually going to save quite a lot of money.


Let me see I understand this. There are no "death panels" under Obamacare. Under Obamacare, an advisory panel will decide whether or not someone can get an expensive treatment. Some expensive treatments will not be approved by this advisory panel and that will save a lot of money. I assume that by deciding some treatments are not cost effective and treatment should be denied that some people will be permitted to die earlier than they otherwise would. This panel of government bureaucrats will decide who lives and dies. It is impolite and it is inflammatory harsh rhetoric to call this advisory panel a "death panel." Did I get that right?

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1 comment:

  1. I don't think you got it right. You seem to be conflating paying for treatment with the treatment itself.

    Currently, insurance companies routinely deny coverage for expensive treatment that they don't believe will do any good medically. If people want to get the medical treatment and can find some other way of paying for it, they are free to do so.

    As I understand it, this is exactly the same thing that the so called 'death panels' are doing.

    So, why is it that some people that like smaller government screaming about the government trying to control costs, but they don't scream when businesses try to control costs? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Another aspect of this is that there was a big uproar about health care reform in terms of whether the government will pay for certain medical procedures that many people oppose, namely, abortion. Yet the idea that government shouldn't pay for other procedures that many oppose, those that are deemed by experts to not be any good medically, gets people all riled up.

    The biggest problem I see is that using the phrase 'death panel' appeals to people's emotions and fears and is at best misleading.

    Health care in our country is a mess. It needs to be addressed. We can, and should, argue whether or not recently passed health care reform is the best way of bringing about the reforms we need. However, resorting to phrases that stir up emotions and muddy the real issues does no one any good.