Michael Ramirez of IBD Editorials gives Barack Obama’s health-care reform an examination — and discovers that Dr. Obama has the directions backwards on transplantation. The idea is to transplant what works to replace what doesn’t, but Dr. Obama intends to take the worst of government-run health care and drop it into a living, functioning American health-care system:
What works in the US is free-market economics. We have a model for successful, plentiful, and inexpensive health care — in fact, a few of them. Lasik and cosmetic surgery specialties do not get insurance coverage or Medicare, and so patients must pay directly for the services. That not only forces consumers to choose carefully when selecting a practitioner, it also forces providers to become cost efficient. The demand and the lower overhead in billings drives doctors into the specialties, so there is no artificial shortage of providers, as a look at any town’s billboards or Yellow Pages will make plain.
Instead of trying to reinvent the broken wheel of statism, we should focus on reforming the rest of the health-care system so that it works more like Lasik and cosmetic surgery, whose markets function properly.
In that same vein, Sally Satel exposes the latest bit of dishonesty from the opponents of a compensation system for live kidney donors, which Satel belives would eliminate the shortage of transplant organs:
Rarely does NKF appeal to reliable data to support their opposition to even pilot trials of incentives (a proposal the foundation actually endorsed in the 1990s). But when they do, they bungle it.
Here is late NKF chairman, Charles B. Fruit, writing in USA Today in 2006:
Payment stands as an affront to those families that have already donated organs of loved ones out of charity. There is evidence to suggest it might prove similarly offensive to future donors. In 2005, the National Survey of Organ Donation found that 10.8% of those polled would be less likely to grant consent for the organs of a deceased family member to be used for transplant if they were offered payment; 68% said they would be neither more nor less likely to grant consent. Thus, there is little data to show that financial incentives would increase donation rates.
The astute and altruistic Virginia Postrel called attention to Fruit’s “misleading math exercise,” as she called it: “to round the figures a bit, 70 percent would be unaffected, and 11 percent would be less likely to grant consent. What happened to the other 19 percent? They were, ahem, conveniently left out—because they would be more likely to grant consent. That’s what’s called a net increase,” she wrote.
Be sure to read it all.
Ramirez has a terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives a fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire IBD site, while individual investors still exist.