Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Americans are so enamoured of equality they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”     Alexis de Tocqueville

July 15, 2010

What The Appointee Says, And What It Means

by Brad Warbiany

While most of us were in the middle of a slow week following a holiday, Obama decided to issue a recess appointment for the job heading Medicare & Medicaid.

Could it be that he issued it as a recess appointment because he didn’t want us digging too deeply into what the good Dr said? Below is his quote, and Stephen Green’s (the Vodkapundit) opinion:

I just now got around to reading the actual article Nick quoted, and get this bit:

“In America, the best predictor of cost is supply; the more we make, the more we use—hospi tal beds, consultancy services, procedures, diagnostic tests,” Dr. Berwick wrote. “… Here, you choose a harder path. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too lit tle of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.”

That’s right — the way to reduce prices is to — wait for it, one more time– decrease supply!

It must take a major IQ and a Harvard degree to wrap your brain around that one.

With all respect to Stephen, I don’t think the Dr is making the point that he can repeal the laws of supply and demand. However, what he’s actually claiming is not, as Stephen is suggesting, stupid. Rather, it’s evil.

Allow me to demonstrate:

In America, the best predictor of cost is supply

He’s not making a point about cost of individual services. He’s making a point about consumption, and therefore spending.

the more we make, the more we use — hospital beds, consultancy services, procedures, diagnostic tests,

Okay, so he says that demand is larger than supply, because as supply increases, there is enough demand to fully utilize it. Essentially he’s saying that as medical care & technology becomes available, we want to utilize it, to do silly things like saving our own lives.

Here, you choose a harder path. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too little of a technology or a service to too much;

You ration. You deliberately restrict supply, so that people cannot obtain the life-saving care and technology that they need. The British are well aware of this, although they use the term “queue” over there, while we prefer the less elegant “waiting in line”. Do some of them die? Sure, but hey, you spend a lot less money this way!

then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.

Translation: You make sure that the politically visible ailments — you know, the ones that have their own special colored bracelets — are well-cared for, so you seem like you’re actually helping people. At the same time, less common, less well-funded, or less dramatic diseases are starved for funding and new technology, because there’s just not a large political incentive to fix it.

Welcome to Obamacare!


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