Debra J. Saunders

Sacrifice? Ha. Obama's answer began: "They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier." Now that's leveling with the American people.

More specifically: "If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half for the thing that's going to make you well?"

As Obama explained, "The system right now doesn't incentivize that." Forget for a minute that in Obamaland, HMOs and insurers have no monetary incentive to require generic prescription drugs, which of course work as well as name brands.

The larger issue is that American voters should feel insulted that their president apparently thinks they are so gullible as to believe that there is a health care free lunch. Also, his administration will know what is better for you than your doctor.

In an interview with New York Times columnist David Leonhardt published in May, Obama used his blue pill/red pill analogy. Questioned further, however, Obama named an operation that maybe, conceivably his administration would not cover -- the hip replacement given to his grandmother after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Her doctor believed that the 86-year-old Madelyn Dunham only had three to nine months to live, the president said, but that without the operation, her quality of life would be terrible. Dunham had the hip replacement and then died within weeks. Obama said he would have paid for the surgery because she was his grandmother, but "whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else's aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they're terminally ill is a sustainable model is a very difficult question."

And: "So that's where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that's also a huge driver of cost, right?"

Obama suggested "a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists." Be it noted Dunham's doctor thought the surgery was in her best interest, and Dunham apparently agreed. That seems like conversation enough for me. Who needs a panel?

Obama also said that under his reform, government will stay out of health care decisions. But then how can Washington cut health care costs as promised?

ObamaCare isn't an easy-to-fill prescription for the half-price-but-just-as-good blue pill. The real product under the safety cap is snake oil.

Debra J. Saunders

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