Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of Note: The Core Problem With Government-Run Health Care

The Wall Street Journal in its November 15, 2009, Editorial says, "The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government." In one sentence the WSJ cuts to the core of the health care debate.

Having been with the government for over 30 years I am acutely aware of the pressures to stay within budget during the year and, at the end of the fiscal year, ensure that the entire budget is expended. This led to nice-to-have purchases of equipment, trips to conferences, etc., all done in late August and early September so that on September 30 the budget read "0." Failure to do this will, the wisdom goes, lead to reductions in budget the following year and in a bureaucracy that is the kiss of death. Bureaucracies, in the government at least, must grow to be considered successful. Decisions are made based on budget and not on necessity. And especially not on individual necessity.

Now apply that to government run and government budgeted health care. Need an operation that can be put off to the end of the fiscal year? Your pain won't matter but the pressures of budget will so you will wait until the money is available. And if it isn't any money left there is always next fiscal year. You will just have to wait and suffer.

The government is the last, repeat the last, group you want to run your health care. Trust me on that. The bureaucracy will always look out for itself first and the individual last. That's just the way it is.

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