Monday, June 06, 2011

The Next Step on the Road to Serfdom

Paul Krugman writes:

But nobody is proposing that the government deny you the right to have whatever medical care you want at your own expense. We’re only talking about what medical care will be paid for by the government.
I wish that Paul were correct, but I am not convinced that he is. Chills went down my spine a few days ago when I read the following proposal from the Center for American Progress, a think tank with strong ties to the Democratic party:

Thus we also include a failsafe mechanism that would ensure significant savings. Our failsafe would be triggered if, starting in 2020, total economywide health care expenditures grow at a rate faster than the economy. Should that happen, we would empower the IPAB [the panel of experts set up by President Obama's health care law] to extend successful reforms in Medicare and other public programs to insurance plans offered in the health care exchanges and then potentially to all health care plans, such that the target is met. This will ensure that costs are constrained across the health care sector, preventing cost-shifting and maintaining access for all.*

That is, under the likely scenario that healthcare spending keeps rising faster than GDP, the Center for American Progress would give government the power to prohibit people from buying expensive health plans with their own money. That is not my idea of progress.

*Source: Page 43-44 of
this document. I put the crucial phrase in bold.