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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press George Will Definition of "Rationing" Is When the Government Does Not Pay for Something

George Will Definition of "Rationing" Is When the Government Does Not Pay for Something

Friday, 05 October 2012 06:57

I'm not kidding. In his column today he complains about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) for Medicare that was set up under one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The IPAB will decide on which procedures will be covered under Medicare. If it determines that a procedure is either not effective or not worth the cost, then Medicare will not cover it, unless Congress overturns the decision.

George Will then trumpets this as rationing of health care. Of course under this system, anyone will be able to get whatever health care they want, they will just have to pay for it out of their own pocket. The fact that Will now calls this situation "rationing" of care shows the state of modern conservatism.

Btw, the same situation under all the plans put forward by Governor Romney and Representative Ryan. There is no insurance company that covers all care. So insurers will decide which procedures they want to pay for. Furthermore, unlike Medicare, there will be no elected representatives who can overturn their decisions. They can also change coverage on people unexpectedly -- that is unless pointy headed bureaucrats in Washington stand in their way.


[Note -- headline corrected 11:00 A.M. 10-6-12 and "IPAB" was originally written as "IPAD"]

Comments (15)Add Comment
Et tu George, At tu?
written by Floccina, October 05, 2012 8:36
How is not paying for care that does work not conservative? People seem to forget that they can still put up their own money if they want a procedure (that show no net benefit). George Will must really want old people to vote republican. What we need are some conservative conservatives.
Can I add
written by Floccina, October 05, 2012 8:42
I am sure that if republicans called for the Independent Payment Advisory Board the Democrats would be shouting "death panels". It is a shame to see that even George Will has been corrupted by politics.
written by Clifton, October 05, 2012 9:01
"When the Government Does Pay for Something"

I think the headline is meant to say "Does Not" rather than "Does"
written by liberal, October 05, 2012 9:44
Floccina wrote,
How is not paying for care that does work not conservative?

If it doesn't enrich rent-collecting parasitic scum, then it's not "conservative".
written by liberal, October 05, 2012 9:52
Floccina wrote,
I am sure that if republicans called for the Independent Payment Advisory Board the Democrats would be shouting "death panels".

That's not really fair. Republican attempts to kill this kind of health care containment mechanism go pretty far back (see e.g.http://theincidentaleconomist....hcpr-newt/).

Now, of course, it's not like most Democrats or even fairly liberal people are all crying for these kinds of rational budget constraints; a common liberal/left "dream" is single payer, combined with the usual idiotic "decisions should be left only to the doctor and patient" crazy talk.

But AFAICT there are no voices on the right for using such top-down government mechanisms to control costs. And it's clear why that should be the case: "conservatives" think the "free" market can never fail, so all you have to do to contain costs is "increase competition" and have the government do less, even though both theory and empirical data show that the health care market is so rife with market failure that the only path to a rational health care system is one in which both the insurance and the health care (well, at least the basic health care that most people need) is provided by government.

It is a shame to see that even George Will has been corrupted by politics.

You're kidding, right? You've never heard of DebateGate?
written by Jennifer, October 05, 2012 10:49
The critics of the IPAD just blow my mind. The headline is exactly right--it is "rationing" if the government won't pay for it, but if the government gives you a voucher to pay for your care and it is not enough that's the market! Everybody knows there is waste in the system, especially people in the system, some deliberate some not. There has been a real attempt to deal with some of this by some MDs themselves in areas such as imaging and some forms of cancer where the outcomes are well established, and outcomes research has increased tremendously in the last few years. Of course the other MDs are fighting IPAD under " doctor-patient" nonsense. It is worth noting that part of the way Medicare came about was an alternative to "socialized medicine" which the AMA was absolutely set against (to the point that the were supportive of the tobacco companies). However it is difficult for people to make major changes in medical treatment unilaterally--you really do need an outside party to kind of weed things out and it is pretty well established that insurance companies do not do this, they just try to game the system as best they can. I believe the actual creation of the IPAD is directly related to the overall growth of Medicare, so if the growth in spending is contained it may not actually happen.
So Goes Defense Spending, Goes Health Care Spending
written by Last Mover, October 05, 2012 11:38
It's good to know that under the George Will Standard of Rationing by Government, since the Pentagon will pay for anything and everything it never rations, spending hundreds of billions on useless defense systems in many cases that the Pentagon doesn't even want.

Economists are conducting studies to determine if the Paul Ryan model for health care is secretly modeled on Pentagon spending in order to maximize total revenue through the highest possible prices combined with maximum moral hazard.
Rationing Religion By GOP and Conservatives!!!
written by James, October 05, 2012 1:14

They vehemently opposed any type of structure closed to Islam around WTC.

Now, that's rationing religion. Where's the outrage of NO Religion Freedom?
written by Barry, October 05, 2012 2:08
I think the acronym is IPAB.

- posted from my iPAD. :-)
Why should I pay for your risky habits?
written by Wisdom Seeker, October 05, 2012 3:51
The moral hazard that afflicts the financial sector is rampant in health care. Everyone wants somebody else to pay for their lifelong afflictions; nobody want to take care of himself or herself.

Just as an example: Why should sensible, low-risk people have to pay for risk-seekers' skiing, snowboarding, bicycle and other injuries?

If we want a sensible system, we cannot subsidize risky behavior and we cannot afford monopolistic pricing. It is as true in healthcare as it is in finance.
written by David, October 05, 2012 5:46
George Will doesn't like rationing because he isn't rational.
written by S.D. Jeffries, October 05, 2012 10:17
Wisdom Seeker:
You should help pay for my bad habits because I'm going to help pay for yours. Such is the nature of insurance.
..., Low-rated comment [Show]
Pretty bad
written by David, October 07, 2012 4:03
One thing is clear, david j michel jr, has no hispanic friends.
Real Rationing
written by FoonTheElder, October 09, 2012 12:13
Rationing of health care is when 25% of your population is uninsured or underinsured in a society where health care costs are significantly higher than the rest of the developed world.

This assures that these people are unlikely to get the care needed to prevent medical problems until they get very desparate and costly. Or they just die from the lack of care, like 40,000 Americans do each year.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.