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Forum Post: The Politics of Health Care Rationing

Posted 6 years ago on Feb. 24, 2012, 8:30 a.m. EST by darrenlobo (204)
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What’s being established is a heavy regulatory overlay that covers almost all aspects of health care—the law ranges from general mandates to a specific program of nutrition and exercise planning at community health centers. One could describe the Affordable Care Act as a giant reallocation scheme that will channel resources from other uses to medical industries and within health care to favored areas. Suppliers of goods and services want to maximize their share of the new entitlements on the one hand and, on the other, minimize the impact of cost controls on their businesses. All medical providers lobby to channel more goodies their way—everybody is certain his services and products are essential. But some lobby more effectively or with more resources. By all evidence this mode of operation will continue.

What Obamacare will do to medical costs is at best uncertain, with the expanded coverage and Medicaid eligibility pushing up expenditures while cost containment devolves on the less politically protected. That Obamacare has raised the income of lobbyists is clear, the President’s protests against them notwithstanding.

Some people prefer political rationing to free markets. Perhaps they honestly believe politicians and bureaucrats make better choices than the numerous players that constitute a competitive market. Or perhaps they themselves are likely to do better under government rationing. But do they really want their medical options dictated by the lobbying success of this or that interest group? Because that is what happens in the political allocation of resources, whatever the pretense of science-based decision-making.




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