Scared of “Rationing”? Read this.

If I hear one more argument about how “government sponsored plans = rationing,” my head is going to explode. Seriously!   This is the best and most concise debunking of the “rationing”  theory that I’ve read yet:

It’s Not Rationing, Stupid!

The insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the A.M.A., and the rest of the axis of evil opposed to meaningful health care reform have been working overtime. They are desperately trying to come up with reasons why people in the United States can’t enjoy the same quality of health care as people in other wealthy countries at a comparable price. They want us all to believe that we will always have to pay two or even three times as much for care that produces no better outcomes.

That’s a hard sell, but fortunately the industry groups have lots of money to make their case. They think that they have produced a winning formula. It’s called “rationing.”

Their focus groups showed that people dislike the idea of rationing health care. So, the industry boys have been running around warning that President Obama’s health care plan could lead to rationing. They want everyone to believe that the government is not going to let you or your loved ones get that medical procedure that is necessary to stay alive.

It’s a great story of the industry boys, but it has nothing to do with the world, which is apparent on a moment’s reflection. The most radical proposal on the table at the moment is a public health care insurance option. That means people would have the option to buy into a plan run by the federal government.

Like other plans, a government-run plan would pay for some procedures, but presumably not pay for others. Is this rationing? If you don’t like the government plan, don’t buy into it. Where’s the rationing?

Suppose employers can buy into the government plan for their workers, so you get stuck with the government plan because your boss liked it. Well, tens of millions of workers have bad health care plans because that is what their boss selected. What will have changed because we have a public plan?

Read the rest here.



  1. I am totally stump on why the US Gov’t is making health care for everyone so hard. Do we really believe we can invent a new wheel when the Europeans have invented, revised and implemented for years an excellent socialize medicine program? Once again in the US, greed and lobbyists get in the way of common sense and progress. Fear mongerings!

  2. I haven’t been paying much attention to the spin on the new government health care plan on either side. To be honest, it doesn’t matter what I think, because the lawmakers are going to do what they want, regardless. They’ve already proved themselves to do that before…T.A.R.P., for instance. And chances are very very good that most of the lawmakers who are voting on this plan won’t even read it before they vote on it.

    Regarding the word “rationing”, some of the examples written in the link you provided are pretty simplified, and if I might say, not totally honest in that the writer doesn’t go into much detail.

    For instance,

    Suppose employers can buy into the government plan for their workers, so you get stuck with the government plan because your boss liked it. Well, tens of millions of workers have bad health care plans because that is what their boss selected. What will have changed because we have a public plan?

    But what about the employees who actually have good plans now which does cover most procedures and the employer has decided that they would rather save a bundle, go with the government plan, and now those procedures can’t be covered. Is the fact that other people “have bad health care plans” any consolation for those who are now stuck in a government plan they don’t like and actually like the plan they had in the beginning? Sure, you can try to pay for the better plan yourself, but you know the cost of that….it’s astronomical. Basically, these people will be forced to take on a plan that they don’t want (the government plan) just because it is forced on them by their employers.

    Another point in that article….

    Furthermore, even if we only had a public plan that everyone had to buy into (something which is clearly not on the table), it still would not amount to rationing. If there were a medical procedure that the plan would not cover, then anyone would still be entirely free to pay for the procedure out of their own pocket. Where is the rationing?

    Really? Just pay it out of your own pocket? Does this guy have any idea how much a simple “procedure”, like a blood test for instance, costs? Let’s take for example people who are on Coumadin (a blood thinning medication). This is for those who have heart conditions . This has to be regulated very carefully and in order to make sure your levels are correct, a blood test every three weeks is necessary. After the test, the medication is adjusted. The reason it needs constant adjustment is because just a small change in diet…possibly eating brocolli or something else may make it necessary to change it. Either way, each test costs approximately $90 to $110. Many senior citizens are on this medication, also. How does that fit into one’s budget if the government insurance says no go?

    What if your child needs a “procedure” for a rare disease and the government deems it too expensive? How does that come from a family budget, especially a family who is already burdened with high taxes or a parent who lost their job?

    There are many other questions. Such as, those who have medical plans at work that offer dental care. I have yet to hear anything about dental care being put in the government plan…nor have I heard if they will cover mental health care. I can name quite a few friends of mine whose kids are on medication for ADHD or Depression. If you walk into any mental health facility, you will see many teens who are dealing with eating disorders, depression, suicidal…etc. If their families lose their current health care plan through their employer who chooses a government health care plan that may not cover this area….how could they afford to pay for that medication or to have their child hospitalized for depression…or for the costs of sending their child to a psychologist or psychiatrist? That’s not chump change….very expensive!

    Like I said…I would actually like to read the new government health care plan, but from what I hear, we will not have full access to it on the Internet (as Obama promised in a campaign speech) and the lawmakers are laughing at the thought that they are expected to actually read the plan before they vote for it. (I can find a link from an interview with one of our Senators who joked about it, if you like.)

    Anyway….it doesn’t matter what kind of spin or ads are out there, it’s out of our hands, we have no say-so in the matter. The writer of this link you provided also said this…

    Like other plans, a government-run plan would pay for some procedures, but presumably not pay for others.

    And how is that better than the way it is now??? This is “change”?

  3. Mary Ellen, I understand your frustration. The reality is that as long as our health insurance is employer-based, we are at the mercy of our employers. That will not change under this new proposal: the majority of Americans will still depend on whatever health insurance benefits are offered by their job.

    What will change, however, is that more people will have access to basic health care. That is change, although it is not the expansive change I want to see, either.

    But this spin of “rationing” is just fear-mongering from those who profit from the status quo. Because the reality right now is that health care is absolutely rationed: those who can afford it can get anything they want. Those who can’t afford private health insurance — can’t get anything.

  4. Sue J- Yes, it is frustrating. It would be nice, however, since this new health care bill is supposed to be giving us a choice, to make it law that employers keep on with whatever private health care plan they had AND allow the government plan. Why have it as an “either-or” choice?

    I would like to see everyone have insurance, that’s a given. What I also would like to see, however, is for those of us who have great insurance be able to keep it, something with which we won’t be able to do if this bill is going to go forward as is, afaik. Like I said…I have yet to see the bill and anticipate that I never will be able to see it. And even if I do…I will have no choice about the vote because the lawmakers seem to do whatever they want, regardless of the wishes of their constituents, which is evident in the way they voted for the T.A.R.P. bill and the bailouts they gave the banks and automakers against the wishes of a majority of their constituents.

    I’m not blaming one Party or the other…in my eyes, they are equally the same, and I don’t mean that as a compliment to them. 😉

    My husband is very much an Obama supporter, however even he has said that this health care bill should not be rushed without ample time for the country to read it, understand it, and for those Congressmen/Senator’s to read it and understand what they are voting on.

    The health care mess has many tentacles and if you take one thing away from one group, you’re hurting another group. This includes health care workers.

    I was talking to a home health care nurse who was caring for my mother-in-law recently when she came home from the hospital. She said the hospital is going to discontinue the home health care because of cost cuts. This means that all senior citizens and others who need follow up care after a hospital stay, will not get it. This includes patients who are on Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals are cutting services left and right and from what this nurse was telling me, she thinks this new bill is going to make it worse.

    I’m trying to listen to all sides on this…not being partisan in the least. I just want the opportunity to read the bill before they vote on it and try not to get caught in the spin on either side of the issue.

    Thanks for pointing out this article, though, and I understand your frustration, also.

  5. Good post, Sue. It’s funny, my elderly aunt and mother were over for dinner the other night and we got on this subject. My 90-year-old mom said that this whole idea of the government-run health care program being such a terrible alternative to what we have now is nonsense. She said she’s been on Medicare, a government-run health care program, for 25 years now and they have never once denied her a procedure or a payment.

    I certainly can’t say the same for privately-run health care insurance programs.

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