Indulging my paranoia

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 23, 2009

Looking at that infamous chart below got me thinking about the proposed new Office of Minority Health and the inevitable rationing that would occur under a government health plan dedicated to keeping costs down.

Looking at the issue from a benign standpoint, maybe the office would operate in such a way as to make sure that minorities receive the same high-quality treatment that everyone else does. (Or, more likely, the same restricted, crummy treatment everyone else does.)

My more cynical side can imagine an agency where instead of merely promoting minority health, it is instead tasked with ensuring equality of outcomes.

I know this sounds outrageous and borderline insane, but when government starts getting involved with “fixing” a perceived societal wrong it’s been known to overreach. Take the recent Ricci  case where the 2nd Circuit ruled that 20 white and Hispanic firefighters shouldn’t get promotions they’d earned because there weren’t any black firefighters who did well enough on the test.

Look 10 or 15 years in the future and imagine the government-run health care system has determined that no one over the age of 75 will receive a defibrillator as a measure to rein in costs. Now imagine a lawsuit filed against Obamacare with the help of the Office of Minority Health on behalf of minorities complaining that this restriction unfairly impacts their life expectancy. Maybe they can offer medical evidence that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to suffer from this particular condition and therefore don’t survive it at the same rate as whites.

So, you equalize the outcomes and…

You have a situation where a 80-year-old white woman would be denied a needed defibrillator because of her age, but a 80-year-old black man would receive one.

Like I said, this all sounds borderline nuts. But when you’ve got government deciding who gets what health care and not doctors and patients, with an “Office of Minority Health” in the mix, maybe a certain level of paranoia is warranted.

0 comments on “Indulging my paranoia”

  1. But this is good legislation for places like India and China, who provide higher level care for people willing to pay more. Air travel is already prevalent, at the end, Americans will just do what Europeans and Canadians have done, go where they can get the treatment. I suspect that an off shoot of that will be a string of these "special" hospitals opening satellite clinics in Cuba and Mexico.

  2. I don't think this is cynical or paranoid at all. I think it is a very clear description of a likely outcome. Especially with Sotomayor on the court.


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July 2009



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