Danger to Health in Clintons' Plan

By Thomas Sowell Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 25, 1993 | Go to article overview

Danger to Health in Clintons' Plan


Thomas Sowell Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


If there was ever a case of not seeing the woods for the trees, it is the current discussion of the Clinton administration's "health-care" plan. Everyone seems preoccupied with who gains and who loses, as if it were just a question of which segment of the American population can get some other segment to pay for its medical insurance.

The more fundamental question - indeed, a question of life and death - is whether the federal government should take away the right of a quarter of a billion Americans to make their own individual medical decisions. An innocent-sounding phrase like "caps on spending" means that politicians and bureaucrats can cut off your ability to get medical care for yourself or for members of your family.

Make no mistake about what this means. A bureaucrat gets paid the same salary whether your child gets cured or dies in your arms. It makes no difference to his career whether your aging parents get the best care possible or get cut off because they are old enough to be treated as expendable under the rules and regulations laid down by Hillary Clinton and Co. We don't even know what all those rules and regulations will be. Although the Clinton administration bill is 1,342 pages long, more detailed regulations will be put out by the bureaucracies administering it.

When we talk about government-controlled medicine, we are not just talking about who can stick somebody else with the cost of his health-insurance premiums. We are talking about whether life and death decisions are going to be made individually by those directly concerned or made collectively for everyone by some distant bureaucracy.

Even if you retain the ability to choose your own doctor, that means much less than it seems when both you and the doctor are limited by what some bureaucracy in Washington is willing to pay for - and whether your own willingness to pay more, if necessary, is going to be treated as bribery under federal criminal laws. Medicare has already gone down that road.

Some elderly man who has worked hard all his life and saved his money for a rainy day may find that he is not allowed to spend it when that rainy day arrives in the form of costly medical problems that the government is not willing to pay for - and is not willing to let him pay for. …

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