Radio Vice Online captures this piece of advice from Tom Brokaw on health-care reform. Talking with Doris Kearns Goodwin on Meet the Press, the semi-retired newscaster says that California and the rest of the nation should take a page from Oregon’s management of “Medicare,” when Brokaw actually means Medicaid. (Medicare is run by the federal government, while Medicaid is run by the states under federal mandates.) Noting that UCLA’s medical center spends about 40% more on end-of-life care than the Oregon average, Brokaw says that health-care reform should take that form:
Brokaw mixes apples and oranges in this argument anyway; UCLA is a public hospital that does research on medical treatments, hiking the cost considerably as part of the investment into finding new and more efficient treatments. One cannot compare a teaching hospital’s cost structure to that of an entire state without being a demagogue. Besides which, health care costs aren’t necessarily about price tags. One can bring the cost of care in the final two years of life by simply refusing to provide it, as Oregon did with Barbara Wagner. They initially refused to provide her with medication to fight cancer, but offered instead doctor-assisted suicide. That certainly reduces costs — by throwing away the patients.
That’s not the only way Oregon holds down its state costs for medical care. As the Independence Institute argues in this entertaining video, Oregon’s political involvement turns the health-care system into a special-interest football, with arbitrary and capricious results:
That’s exactly what we will get with ObamaCare. Maybe Brokaw should stick to World War II.