In today's "Now They Tell Us" segment, the New York Times on Wednesday reported that ObamaCare's ability to bring down costs will be a function of denying some people medical services and procedures.
"From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can't sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct," wrote David Leonhardt.
"So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform."
As you continue to read Leonhardt's shocking words, consider that the paper he writes for has published over 100 articles about Sarah Palin's "death panels":
This try-anything-and-everything instinct is ingrained in our culture, and it has some big benefits. But it also has big downsides, including the side effects and risks that come with unnecessary treatment. Consider that a recent study found that 15,000 people were projected to die eventually from the radiation they received from CT scans given in just a single year - and that there was "significant overuse" of such scans. [...]
It's not just CT scans. Caesarean births have become more common, with little benefit to babies and significant burden to mothers. Men who would never have died from prostate cancer have been treated for it and left incontinent or impotent. Cardiac stenting and bypasses, with all their side effects, have become popular partly because people believe they reduce heart attacks. For many patients, the evidence suggests, that's not true.
Indeed. But how many of these CT scans are ordered by doctors concerned with potential lawsuits and are only requested as a CYA? How many ob-gyns are now doing Caesareans for exactly the same reason, or cardiologists recommending stents and bypasses?
This of course was an argument Republicans made throughout the healthcare debate, and why they advocated tort reform. Doctors themselves complain that many of the procedures they recommend are exclusively to reduce legal liability in the future.
But Leonhardt chose not to address that, and instead talked about the problem purely from an economic perspective:
Giving hospitals and drug makers a blank check will bankrupt Medicare. Slowing the cost growth, on the other hand, will free up resources for other uses, like education. Lower costs will also lift workers' take-home pay.
Fascinating. You think that seniors across the fruited plain would have liked to know that ObamaCare would lead to the potential denial of medical services to "free up resources for other uses, like education?"
Wouldn't it have been nice if this kind of information was disclosed BEFORE Congress voted on this unpopular legislation?
As Ed Morrissey wrote Wednesday:
For months, media outlets like the New York Times scolded conservatives over their concerns about rationed medical care. Sarah Palin outraged them by referring to "death panels" when the ObamaCare bill wound up containing language enabling "comparative effectiveness" boards as guiding lights for medical care decisions...Now they admit that the "most important task" of the people running the ObamaCare reform is to deny people medical care - under circumstances where a group of elites decide it's not worth it.
Morrissey was quite correct in his assessment of the Times' position on this matter BEFORE healthcare reform was passed.
According to LexisNexis, the Gray Lady has published over 100 articles with the phrase "death panel" since Palin's Facebook posting on the subject last August.
Two of these were written by Leonhardt. Here's what he wrote on September 2:
Next week, Congress will return to session, and health care, of course, will be at the top of its agenda. Passing a bill, it's clear, will be no easier than in previous decades. President Obama's poll numbers have fallen, while untruths about death panels have made the rounds and members of Congress have been subjected to town hall harangues.
If Leonhardt and his colleagues would have spent more time actually informing the public about the proposals in front of Congress instead of attacking the former Alaska governor, Americans would have known the truth BEFORE the votes were taken.
Makes you wonder if Leonhardt is just trying to ease his conscience.