Taking Politifraud to the woodshed

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National Review in an unsigned editorial posted today lays out yet more reasons why the self-appointed watchdogs at Politifact can’t be trusted. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but there’s one part I want to highlight and then elaborate on.

PolitiFact’s other arguments are that Medicare spending will continue to rise and that Obama’s spending reductions are “mainly aimed at insurers and hospitals, not beneficiaries.” Leave aside the economic naïveté of that argument, and focus instead on the irrelevance. Romney said that Obama had taken money that was going to be spent on Medicare and instead spend it on Obamacare, and suggested that this was a bad thing. In other words: an absolutely true claim, and an opinion based on it. If PolitiFact disagrees with that opinion, let it publish its views under a different name.

I want to take a closer look at the economic naïveté of that argument, because it seems lost on so many on the left. The Democratic talking point on this subject is that the $716 billion being cut from Medicare will all come from everyone’s favorite trifecta “waste, fraud and abuse,” as if those are always the first things to go when government cutbacks appear.

These cuts won’t be to beneficiaries, but to those greedy insurers, hospitals and doctors. As if they aren’t all somehow interrelated.

In layman’s terms, what the government is suggesting is that you can pay hospitals and doctors next to nothing and somehow that won’t affect patients. It’s like if I offered you $5 million to wash my car. But, you also have to pay your own way to come to me and you have to pay for all the detailing supplies. No problem, you think, you could fly first class, have a limo pick you up at the airport, stop by the local auto parts store to pick up the supplies, spend one hour of your time and even with all those expenses, you’ll come out better than $4.99 million ahead.

Now imagine that instead of $5 million, I offer you $5. Is my car going to get washed? No, it isn’t. It’s not worth your time or money to wash my car. In fact, you’d almost assuredly lose money on the job.

Now can some Democrat explain why a doctor would behave any differently when it comes to treating Medicare patients? Not only is the doctor not compensated for his time, but he’d actually lose money when seeing a Medicare patient. This is why Obamacare’s IPAB group is really a rationing board. In order to keep healthcare spending low, they will price certain treatments at a point below which it is profitable for doctors or hospitals to perform it. If it costs $10,000 for a typical  knee replacement, the board can set the price for the procedure at $5,000—and no one will perform it at that price. All the while, Democrats and their co-conspirators at Politifraud will say that there’s no rationing going on. In the eyes of the law, there isn’t any rationing going on. Technically, however, there is.

Politifraud’s credibility is shot.  But if you’ve been reading this site, you’d have known that already.

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