Two Steps Down Our Health Care Road


It sure was good of the British to embark on socialized medicine some decades ago.  If Americans were inclined to learn lessons from failed left-wing experiments, then this would be a great one:

Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations. …

Under the latest restrictions, patients in the catchment area who have a BMI of 30 or more will be barred from routine surgery for non-life-threatening conditions for a year, although they may secure a referral sooner if they shed 10 per cent of their weight. …

Smokers who refuse to quit will have planned operations postponed for six months, but may be included on surgeons’ waiting lists earlier by proving they have given up for at least eight weeks.

From this point, the argument could go in multiple ways.  “Why should we all finance the bad behavior of some people?” To which others might respond, “Who gets to pick these particular bad behaviors rather than, say, promiscuous sex?”  Alternately, “Are you saying that wealthy obese people should be able to buy knee operations while poorer people can’t get life-saving treatments at the same cost?”  To which the response might be, “Doesn’t this zero-sum game only arise because government has taken over the industry?”

The more immediate observation, though, is that progressives never seem to want us to get to these central questions until they’ve changed the system in their favor.  Prior to passage of ObamaCare, they proclaimed it a lie that the law might lead to panels that choose who gets operations and who doesn’t.  It will only be after the system is such that almost everybody is dependent on government for health care (or at least believes as much) that we’ll be permitted to have the discussion of whether government control is worthwhile with this as one of its consequences.

But that’s what puts the “progress” in “progressive”: One suspects they know what the end game looks like, but they want to ensure that the rest of us “progress” along convenient stages of finding out.