November 24, 2003

Bitter Pill


From FoxNews yesterday: Senate Showdown on Medicare Bill Looms.

See our related cartoon and links from last week: The World According to AARP.

UPDATE: Michael Van Winkle at The Chicago Report highlights the Republicans' head-long rush to increase government spending: The Republican Party's Paradox. Blogger Tyler Cowen reacts to a Washington Post article on the subject:

We all know about the $33 billion for the energy bill, or the $400 billion for the Medicare bill. It is less well-known that Congress is moving to increase veterans' benefits by $22 billion. Or how about peanut subsidies jumping from zero (1998) to $1.5 billion? Dairy subsidies from $318 million (1998) to $2.45 billion? The Agricultural Marketing Service is up from $726 million (1998) to $1.43 billion. The Amtrak budget has doubled to over $1 billion. And so on, and so on, and so on.

The bottom line: government spending this year will total $20,000 per household, a level we have not seen since World War II.

Being that the military is a legitimate function of government, the increase in veteran's benefits is most likely justifiable -- I haven't looked into it. But clearly the other items are just increases in socialism -- by a Republican-dominated government. It's shameful.

UPDATE: Capitalism Magazine has an excellent editorial by Robert Garmong: The Medicare Frame-Up: Republican "Free Market" Medicare Bill is Closet Socialism.

[The new Medicare] agreement is based on the same socialist premise as the original Medicare system -- and it promises to be every bit as disastrous in practice. The premise is that one gains a moral claim to a good, not by earning it, but simply by needing it. On this premise, as long as any patient has an unmet need, other people must be coerced -- whether through taxes or regulations -- to meet it.

Economically, this guarantees skyrocketing expenses as more and more of the elderly cash the blank checks offered them by government. Medicare is already expected to face bankruptcy within 15 years -- and Senator Ted Kennedy calls the current prescription drug expansion "only a down-payment." Some have estimated that the new program's $400 billion estimated cost will quickly turn into $800 billion or more. [...]

Socialism with a "free market" veneer is still socialism. All the Republicans are doing, in their supposed attempt to "expand" the free market, is planting the government's smoking gun in capitalism's pocket.

There is only one way to bring the benefits of the free market into health care: end government intervention. As long as Republicans do not reject the socialist premise that the needs of patients authorize the sacrifice and coercion of producers, their supposed support for the free market will merely hasten its demise.

Read it all.

UPDATE Nov. 25: FoxNews reports: Senate Passes Medicare Bill.

Posted by Forkum at November 24, 2003 07:12 AM