Congress waves its magic wand, and rationing becomes personal choice.  Paying For Health Care Reform Won’t Lead to Rationing, Senate Finance Chair Says

…“There is no rationing of health care at all,” Baucus told CNSNews.com on Friday. “You choose your own doctor. You choose your own health insurance that you want to have. This is all a choice.

Ignore that bureaucrat controlling the health insurance system behind the curtain.

…“What we are talking about is squeezing cost out of the system because of an emphasis on quality care, not quantity,” Baucus told CNSNews.com. “Today the emphasis in the reimbursement is quantity whether you are a doctor, or a medical equipment manufacturer, whatever you are. It’s quantity. You get paid for the number of units that you provide.

I tend to associate quality with increased cost, but never mind.  Medicine is a business.  Of course quantity plays a part.  One thing these geniuses seem to miss is that on-the-job training is a big part of the healthcare profession.  The more procedures doctors perform, the better they get at them. In a sane world, that would be considered a plus.  In a big-government world, not so much, apparently.

And who decides what quality care is?  Take a guess.  Hint–it won’t be the patient.

“This is a whole new way of doing business,” said Baucus. “The usual way of doing business is maybe a cut here or a rationing there, because you can’t do this or you can’t do that … we are not talking about that …  although there may be some cuts.”

Socialized medicine is indeed a whole new way of doing things in America.  But business has nothing to do with it.  What business thinks in terms of “cutting” or “rationing?”  Businesses exist to make money.  Only under a nationalized system can the availability of medical services be controlled almost completely. Not providing a medical procedure because of its cost is rationing, no matter how hard he tries to weasel.

But in arguing for the president’s health care reform plan, administration officials have suggested that some cuts in medical services will be needed to contribute to the projected savings.

“Look at health care, the frequency of different procedures, whether it’s tonsillectomies or hysterectomies in different parts of the country – and what you see is that in some parts of the country procedures are done three times as frequently and there’s no benefit in terms of the health of the population,” Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said on Meet the Press last Sunday.

What does “there’s no benefit in terms of the health of the population” mean, exactly?  Presumably the child with the infected tonsil benefits.  In a socialistic mindset the individual doesn’t matter.  The proponents of nationalized healthcare have an advanced case, and the prognosis for individual freedom is poor.

Opponents:

Republicans have argued, however, that it is impossible to quantify the amount of savings without quantifying the amount of cuts.

“If you’re going to quantify [savings] with certainty, that means you feel you’re going to ration with certainty,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Feb. 26.

“How do they propose to go about doing this?” asked Ryan. “Do they propose to set up a system where the government is in the nucleus of our health care system, where the government is telling providers – physicians – how to practice medicine?”

In a word, yes.

While the jackals are fighting over that carcass, Washington may have a problem.  Obama administration concerned about growing shortage of primary-care doctors

Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the number of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary-care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans.

Why?  In part, because the Medicare pie isn’t big enough:

Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors — a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

…Dr. Peter J. Mandell, a spokesman for the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said: “We have no problem with financial incentives for primary care. We do have a problem with doing it in a budget-neutral way. If there’s less money for hip and knee replacements, fewer of them will be done for people who need them.”

In other words, rationing is already going on via Medicare.  And they consider it a crisis.  How much worse will it be when everyone in the country is in the same system?  It definitely won”t result in a “benefit in terms of the health of the population.”  There won’t be a curtain big enough to hide that behind.

Update:

Some interesting points at Instapundit

HEY, I’VE GOT AN IDEA: Make the practice of medicine more rewarding!

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