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Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care and Egalitarianism

Victor Davis Hanson:
I understand the reasoning behind Obamism and am familiar with the feel-good, this-is-our-moment rhetoric of egalitarianism. But please at least spare us the fictions and simply be honest: Obama wants a state-run America, somewhere to the left of France or Denmark, a United States unexceptional and merely one of many nations at the UN. This vision follows an existing, decades-long encroachment of government. And it requires all sorts of highly credentialed overseers monitoring and at times justifiably attacking the upper middle class for its deplorable treatment of those below it.

This new America is ultimately predicated on the notion that we were born equal and must die absolutely equal as well. And this is entirely within our grasp, if we just understand that individual responsibility, talent, natural endowment, chance, merit, luck, tragedy, and a dozen other variables far too complex for government to imagine, much less solve, in fact, are not the real obstacles to ensuring equality.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote a nice piece on perfect equality in Harrison Bergeron.

Oh, by the way, the geniuses in Congress managed to create a mini crisis for those 9+ million AMERICANS covered by Tricare, the military health care plan:
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) says he will include a provision in the FY2011 Defense Authorization Bill to amend national health care reform legislation to explicitly state that TRICARE “meets all requirements for individual health insurance.”

Committee staff members indicate this is a technical correction to make doubly sure TRICARE beneficiaries don’t suffer any inadvertent penalties under the language of national health care reform legislation currently pending in the House.

According to staff, the new House language cites Medicare, TRICARE For Life, and VA care as meeting the requirements, but didn’t explicitly include TRICARE.

Skelton tried to amend the bill to include TRICARE, but House rules governing reconciliation bills like the national health reform bill bar amendments that don’t involve funding.

But the lack of funding issue means Skelton will be able to make the fix in the defense bill instead.

While it would be incongruous in the extreme to consider TRICARE as failing to meet any reasonable requirements for health insurance, the technical fix will make doubly sure TRICARE beneficiaries won’t be subject to financial penalties applicable to people who don’t obtain qualifying insurance.

It would also require that TRICARE make a change to allow continued coverage of non-dependent children until age 28 if they don’t have qualifying employer-sponsored coverage. Details on how to accomplish that would have to be worked out in the defense bill if the national health reform legislation passes.
UPDATE: Of course, including TRICARE might have caused the bill, which the Democrats assure us will save us money, to appear to cost too much, as noted over at Castle Argghhh!.
UPDATE2: Although I probably wouldn't call them "death panels" there will eventually be something akin to "decision trees" to sort out who will receive certain medical treatments.UPDATE3: "Decision Trees" will take the onus off individuals and "panels" deciding on who gets what. "It's not our fault, we ran it through the decision tree and determined that with your age and probability of living only another 3 years you just barely missed the cut. So sorry. Next!"

You know, the same sort of process that real insurance companies used to be able to apply is selecting who to insure and for how much. I remember the days when my SCUBA diving caused them to raise my life insurance rates, for example. Sky diving? "Raise the rates." Amateur sports car racing? "Raise the rates."

Now, let's assume you engage in high risk behavior like drug abuse and needle sharing - why, my goodness, you are now covered. Got AIDS or HIV positive as a result of needle sharing? Why, now you have a "preexisting condition." Covered.

Too stupid and selfish to practice safe sex? Whatever you get - "Covered."

Questions? Will the new system mandate genetic testing of wannabe parents and in vitro babies to decide whether or not the child will be a burden on the taxpayers? What about "sickle cell" genetic carriers? What about "Factor 5 Leiden" genetic carriers? Autism? And so on...

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