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Government Control of Medicine Necessitates Rationing

Obama_signs_ObamaCareIt would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable.

Steven Rattner, who once advised the Obama administration, begins his recent New York Times op-ed as follows:

We need death panels.

Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently—rationing, by its proper name—the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.

Rationing is inherent in government control of medicine. When government provides “free” (or subsidized) health services, politicians and bureaucrats necessarily decide how that spending will be allocated. And, to the degree that the related taxes and controls drive out private health providers and disable individuals from affording their own health care, government rationing restricts the health services that individuals may use.

Paul Hsieh, a radiologist, discusses the obvious problems of government bureaucrats deciding who should get health services:

[A] physician on the ground doesn’t always know if a patient will live or die from a surgery or procedure. Should the government be deciding whether or not to try and save a patient’s life?

These sorts of arguments are inevitable when the government controls medical spending, as it does for the Medicare population. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Under ObamaCare, such government control will quickly spread to the vast majority of the American population, not just the elderly.

The economic facts of the matter are simple. Even the left understands them. And we have been warned.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Ari Armstrong

Ari Armstrong is an assistant editor of The Objective Standard. He blogs at AriArmstrong.com, and he has written for publications including the Denver Post and Complete Colorado. He is the author of Values of Harry Potter: Lessons for Muggles, a book exploring the heroic fight for life-promoting values in the Potter novels.


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