Friday, February 22, 2013

Health Care: Pay More, Get Less

Noted economist Paul Krugman has advised both Barack Obama and the Democratic members of Congress over the last few years, especially concerning the financing of Obamacare. Regarding the need to fund the Democrat health plan in light of currently growing debts and deficits, Krugman said, in a January 2013 speech:

Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising ... there is this question of how we're going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give ... We’re going to need more revenue, we’re going to need, and probably in the end, surely in the end it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well. So again, we won’t be able to pay for the kind of government, the society we want without some increase in taxes, not a huge one, but some increase on taxes on the middle class, maybe a value-added tax ... And we’re also going to do, really, we’re going to have to make decisions about health care, not pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits. So you know the snarky version I use, which is, I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble, is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.

The rationing of healthcare will become necessary, says Krugman. Certainly, there is the possibility of real shortages, for example, of kidneys or livers available for transplantation. If that situation occurs, serious ethical discussions would be necessary. But equally as possible, and perhaps more probable, would be the shortages of physicians - shortages caused by an environment in which fewer students choose to study medicine because Obamacare has made the profession uninviting for gifted students, or shortages of medicines, because the Democratic Party's nationalized healthcare program has given pharmaceutical companies no incentive to develop or manufacture drugs. The bureaucrats who have artificially created these shortages would then go on to ration healthcare, deciding who deserves it and who does not.

In the meantime, working Americans - middle class and lower class - would be paying more, not less, by means of taxes, for the privilege of being abused in such a socialized healthcare system. Krugman speaks of a value added tax, which is a sort of national sales tax. Such taxes are regressive, meaning that they impact the poor more than the rich.

This healthcare system can, however, be judged a success, to the extent that it makes progress toward a greater goal: Obama's objective of lowering American standards of living, and reducing American wealth, so that U.S. citizens are moved closer to a third-world way of life. Obama's purpose is to shrink the gap between modern industrialized high-tech nations and developing nations. Unable to raise the latter, he lowers the former. Healthcare policy is but one way of doing that. Other policies from the Obama administration, while ostensibly about the environment or education, carry this same larger objective forward.