'Social Justice' in Health Care

Article excerpt

You'd think the central planners at the White House would go outside their small group of relatives for some top-notch expertise when they're trying to revamp something as big and complex as one- sixth of the American economy.

When Bill Clinton sought to radically overhaul American health care, he put Hillary in charge.

This time around, Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is on the Obama team as a special adviser on health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and a member of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

What Hillary's months of closed-door meetings produced was a top- down, command-and-control plan that put federal bureaucrats in charge of the decision-making and conduct of doctors, patients, employers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and state governments.

Mrs. Clinton sought a mandate that required employers to pick up the health insurance tab for all their employees.

This ended with HillaryCare being defeated and Republicans gaining 52 House seats and eight Senate seats in the 1994 election, plus five more seats in the House and two in the Senate because of party-switching, giving Republicans control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years.

The promise from today's White House is that ObamaCare somehow will provide universal coverage while simultaneously increasing quality and cutting costs.

The writings of Obama health adviser Emanuel provide some insight into how our current crop of central planners might well be intending to accomplish these seemingly conflicting goals.

Last year in Health Affairs: The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere, Emanuel wrote that "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely 'lipstick' cost controls, more for show and public relations than for true change."

In other words, the billions in the House and Senate health reform bills for "infrastructure" pork -- i. …