Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Death Panels, Nationalized Health Care, and the Nanny State

We have been making the point that, once you accede to nationalized control over health care decisions-and the feds control the purse strings-be prepared for a sharp delimitation of your liberty. In our case, we were concerned with the Bloomberg proposal to restrict the use of food stamps for the purchase of sugared soda: "In our view, however, it's more than just about the poor-and in some senses, the poor are simply the canary in the mine shaft when it comes to the issue of control over the lives of ordinary Americans. That is because, as we have pointed out, the food stamp effort can be seen as an opening salvo of a more generalized war for control over the behavior and lifestyles of all Americans. With the looming likelihood that more and more health care expenditures will be subject to federal mandates, we are rapidly approaching the point where the old maxim, "He who pays the piper calls the tune," will become fully operational."

Now, however, our foreboding gains both credibility and traction from an unlikely source-the NY Times' Paul Krugman. The Nobel Prize winner has admitted that Sarah Palin was right about the so-called death panels: "...health care costs will have to be controlled, which will surely require having Medicare and Medicaid decide what they’re willing to pay for — not really death panels, of course, but consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we’re willing to spend for extreme care."

"Not really death panels? But whatever you call them, their necessity-at least in Krugman's worldview-devolves from the overarching control that is given to the federal health regulators. And make no mistake about it, if nationalized health care decision making can necessitate depriving old folks of, "extreme care," than the mandating of what you eat, and when you exercise, amounts to minor facets of a larger looming control infrastructure.

Which is why we have been so vehemently opposing the Bloomberg policy mindset-and his targeting of food stamp users' freedom of choice. As Pastor Martin Niemöller once said-and, of course we paraphrase, "First they came for the food stamp recipients..."