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

“There's no such thing as a free lunch.”     Milton Friedman

October 12, 2010

Government-Run Amputation Panels

by Stephen Gordon

For some time, we’ve been using words and sometimes charts or graphs to describe the multitude of problems with government-run health care systems. The Greeks have finally allowed us to put a face to the issue. Well, perhaps a few extremities lower. From the Daily Caller:

This Saturday, one of Greece’s most respected newspapers, To Vima, reported that the nation’s largest government health insurance provider would no longer pay for special footwear for diabetes patients. Amputation is cheaper, says the Benefits Division of the state insurance provider.

In a true free market, health insurance providers couldn’t allow this sort of imagery, as it would hurt obviously their sales. Who’d want to purchase insurance from a company with a reputation of cutting granny’s feet off instead of covering the cost for therapeutic shoes?

The photograph above is from some Civil War amputation footage. I’d like to thank Congress and the president for bringing the United States one step closer to 1865.


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3 Comments

  1. This type of tradeoff could occur in any system that faces pressure to minimize cost. But you’re right that a private company wouldn’t say “amputations are cheaper” — they would just say “footware not covered”.

    It happens all the time today.

    Comment by ricketson — October 13, 2010 @ 5:50 am
  2. Civil War amputation footage!!!! the laughs keep coming!

    Comment by RobH — October 13, 2010 @ 6:29 am
  3. What ricketson wrote – the directors primary role is to optimise shareholder returns. In the free market version, if you want special shoes over amputation then you pay extra. If someone who had a cheap free market plan would however would be denied the shoes if it’s not covered.

    Comment by Gil — October 14, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

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