Thomas Sowell

There was a time when rushing a thousand-page bill through Congress so fast that no one has time to read it would have provoked public outrage. But now, this has been attempted twice in the first 6 months of a new administration.

The fact that they got away with it before, with the "stimulus" bill, may have led them to believe that they could get away with it again.

But the first bill simply spent hundreds of billions of dollars. The current "health care" bill threatens to take life-and-death decisions out of the hands of individuals and their doctors, transferring those decisions to Washington bureaucrats.

Culture of Corruption by Michelle Malkin FREE

People are taking that personally-- as they should. Your life and death, and that of your loved ones, is as personal as it gets.

The mainstream media are again circling the wagons to protect Barack Obama, but this time it may not work. One of those front-page editorials disguised as a news article in the New York Times begins: "The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored 'death panels' to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks."

Nowhere? Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is "Special Advisor for Health Policy" for the Obama administration. That's nowhere? He is also co-author of an article on Americans' "over-utilization" of medical care in the June 18, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Is that nowhere?

Dr. Emanuel's article points out that Americans do not visit doctors or go into hospitals more than people in other industrialized countries. In fact we go to both places less often than people do in those other countries, which include countries with government-controlled medical care.

As the article points out, "It is more costly care, rather than high volume, that accounts for higher expenditures in the United States."

There are more Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices per capita in the United States, more coronary bypass operations and Americans use more new pharmaceutical drugs created within the past 5 years.

Americans also have more of what the article calls "amenities" with their medical care. "Hospital rooms in the United States offer more privacy, comfort and auxiliary services than do hospital rooms in most other countries."

In other words, it is not quantity but quality that is different-- and more expensive-- about American medical care. This is what Dr. Emanuel's "over-utilization" consists of.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate