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April 25th, 2011 1:01 am
More on “Who Decides?”

In my last post, I explained that Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would cut far more Medicare services, without giving patients any real choice in the matter, than Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal would ever do — and that Ryan’s would give patients control, whereas IPAB would leave them at the mercy of bureaucrats far removed from the scene. Again, the issue is, who decides?

That’s the theme in areas other than IPAB, too. Indeed, it is the central question of Obamacare. Obama’s system and its corollaries leave all authority in the hands of central planners — disembodied persons, as far as the patient is concerned, for whom the patients are little more than statistics on a spread sheet.

Fox news contributor and former Reagan-Bush in-house thinker James Pinkerton is rightly banging the drum for more options for patients and providers alike. In what he calls a “Serious Medicine Strategy,” Pinkerton explains that the best way to keep costs down is to encourage the development of cures rather than of merely managed treatments. As Pinkerton says, healthy people are less expensive than sick people. Therefore, intellectual property rights for researchers should be protected better, or longer, than they are now. The FDA should be more lenient, or more rapid, in approving medicines — at least for trial use, with appropriate warnings, perhaps. And so on. The idea is to provide more chances for more cures, and more choices for everybody involved — mostly through the free market.

There is a lot more to say on this and related topics. Again, though, the central message is this: Where bureaucrats and central planners exert too much control, or interfere too much, the ultimate provision of services is likely to be either worse, or more expensive, or both. But if people are freed to pursue their own best interests. They will. More on this as the weeks go by.

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