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Nationalizing Your Body

Last Thursday, we growled about the Left, healthcare, and freedom, and cited a few paragraphs from a column by the inimitable Mark Steyn. In this weekend’s column at National Review Online, he returns to the subject of healthcare, saying, “Ultimately, government health represents the nationalization of your body.” As only Steyn can, he zeros in on the real point at issue:

“The problem with government health systems is not that they pull the plug on Grandma. It’s that Grandma has a hell of a time getting plugged in in the first place. The only way to “control costs” is to restrict access to treatment, and the easiest people to deny treatment to are the oldsters. Don’t worry, it’s all very scientific. In Britain, they use a “Quality-Adjusted Life Year” formula to decide that you don’t really need that new knee because you’re gonna die in a year or two, maybe a decade-and-a-half tops. So it’s in the national interest for you to go around hobbling in pain rather than divert “finite resources” away from productive members of society to a useless old geezer like you. And you’d be surprised how quickly geezerdom kicks in: A couple of years back, some Quebec facilities were attributing death from hospital-contracted infection of anyone over 55 to “old age.” Well, he had a good innings. He was 57.”

Even more directly, Steyn concludes the column saying:

“President Obama has wondered whether (the current system) is a “sustainable model.” But from your point of view, what counts is not whether the model’s sustainable but whether you are. I am certainly in favor of reform. I would support a Singapore-style system of personal health accounts — and Singapore, for Mayor Bloomberg’s benefit, has the third-highest life expectancy in the world. But, under any government system that interjects a bureaucracy between you and your health, the elderly and not-so-elderly get denied treatment. And there’s nothing you can do about it because, ultimately, government health represents the nationalization of your body. You’re 84, 72, 63, 58, you’ve had a good innings. It’s easy for him to say. And even easier for his army of bureaucrats.”

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