A 'death panel' by any other name (updated)
They laughed when Sarah Palin said Obamacare would require death panels to control medical costs. But for some reason no one laughs when New York times columnist Paul Krugman says the same thing. Maybe because he won--inexplicably--the Nobel Prize for Economics.
Yesterday he did it again both on This Week with Christiane Amanpour and then further explaining in his New York Times column that no, he didn't really mean death panels just because he called them...death panels.
I said something deliberately provocative on This Week, so I think I'd better clarify what I meant (which I did on the show, but it can't hurt to say it again.)So, what I said is that the eventual resolution of the deficit problem both will and should rely on "death panels and sales taxes". What I meant is that(a) 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
Update - Randall Hoven adds:
"If they were going to do reality therapy, they should have said, OK, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it's going to pay for. And at least for starters, it's going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all... Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It's going to be that we're actually going to take Medicare under control, and we're going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT."
- Keep doing what we're doing; maybe cut some discretionary spending and other stuff recommended by the Deficit Commission. This would lead to structural deficits in the trillion-dollar-a-year range and would eventually lead to default; hyper-inflation; collapse of pensions, Social Security, Medicare, etc.; economic depression and/or civil war.
- Take the Krugman/Europeanization route: death panels and a VAT - and the slow growth and smothering government that come with them.
- Follow Paul Ryan's Roadmap or something very much like it. Government would actually shrink as a percentage of GDP. Entitlements would not go away, and would not even be changed for those already over 55. People would have more choices; government bureaucrats fewer. And we'd get back to healthy economic growth.