This morning, the WSJ text is the government's health care rationing commission, Sarah Palin's famous death panel.
It turns out that the commission is not quite as fearsome as Palin predicted. But that's because the commission won't have all the powers it was supposed to. Not yet. The Baucus committee in the Senate defanged it a little.
To avoid a senior revolt, Finance Chairman Max Baucus decided to bar his creation from reducing benefits or raising the eligibility age, which meant that it could only cut costs by tightening Medicare price controls on doctors and hospitals. Doctors and hospitals, naturally, were furious. So the Montana Democrat bowed and carved out exemptions for such providers, along with hospices and suppliers of medical equipment. Until 2019 the commission will thus only be allowed to attack Medicare Advantage, the program that gives 10 million seniors private insurance choices, and to raise premiums for Medicare prescription drug coverage, which is run by private contractors.
Notice what is happening? The commission will only penalize Republicans, who presumably are the chaps using Medicare Advantage.
The issues on health care aren't that complicated. If you want to lower health care costs you have to get the government out of it and find out what people are willing to pay for.
Obviously some people are going to make no provision at all and they will be charity cases. We could have the government do this, but I suspect we would get better results if private givers and foundations did the work.
For the rest of us, we need to ante up and pay for our own care. The issue is simple:
The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government.
If you want health care in your own best interest you are going to have to pay for it yourself. If you are willing to put up with the care that the government provides then good luck to you.
What we need to do in this nation is create webs of support so that when people need medical care they either have the support of their own resources or their family.
If we are really ambitious we could learn a lesson from our great grandparents. Back in the 19th century ordinary people created an artificial extended family for themselves, the fraternal association. It provided basic social benefits such as sick pay and death benefits.
All the rest is force. Government is force; government health care is force. And when politicians, the agents of force, make decisions about health care they will make decisions, using the many weapons of force available to modern governments, that benefit themselves and their immediate supporters.
Politicians don't care what happens to you. They don't care what happens to the nation in ten years. They just care about what benefits them in the next electoral cycle.