Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Prof Glenn Reynolds (a/k/a Instapundit) in the July 12th Washington Examiner:
The normal critique of socialized medicine is to point out that people have to wait a long time for these kinds of treatments in places like Britain. And that's certainly a valid critique. I'm sure my mom and daughter would still be waiting for their treatments, while my father and wife would probably be dead.

The key point, though, is that these treatments didn't just come out out of the blue. They were developed by drug companies and device makers who thought they had a good market for things that would make people feel better.

But under a national healthcare plan, the "market" will consist of whatever the bureaucrats are willing to buy. That means treatment for politically stylish diseases will get some money, but otherwise the main concern will be cost-control. More treatments, to bureaucrats, mean more costs.

It doesn't always work that way, of course. The rise of proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec has made ulcer surgery a thing of the past. But to the bureaucratic mindset, those pills are a cost, and ulcer-surgery expenses can be dealt with by rationing. Let 'em eat Maalox while they wait.

I exaggerate, but . . . well, maybe I don't. The truth is, despite the great promise of new medical technology out there now, in terms of new cancer treatments, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and more, the potential marvels of the next twenty years will never be developed unless some developer thinks there's a market.

And with bureaucrats in charge of deciding what treatments to pay for, the existence of such markets will be much less certain. Oh, sure, federally-funded medical research will still go on at the NSF, NIH, etc. But turning that research into actual products is a different story.

My family benefited from innovative treatments that probably wouldn't be around if the United States had adopted socialized medicine when that was first proposed over half a century ago. In 20 years from now, a lot more treatments -- and, probably, dramatically better treatments -- won't be around if we adopt a national healthcare program now.

It's ironic that the same Democrats who were pushing the medical prospects for stem-cell research during the last election are now pushing a program that will make such progress far less likely.
Agreed--as does the Mayo Clinic.

(via Don Surber)


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, but homeless wombats are begging on the streets right now because even though they're cute, they don't have health insurance. And it's all your fault, you heartless bastards.

Trialdog said...

The loss of quality abundant health care in this country will be devastating. It is but one item our children will lose as they become the first generation of Americans worse off than their parents.