Medicare Reform: Paying for the Cake You Want to Eat

Don Taylor over at The Incidental Economist poses three key questions:

If we ever slow health care cost inflation to a sustainable pace, it will be because we learn how to ask 3 simple questions when thinking about a medical treatment:

• Does it improve quality of life for the patient?

• Does it extend the patient’s life?

• How much does it cost?

While these are reasonable questions to ask, they are irrelevant to the fundamental political question: who gets to decide whether the cost is worth the benefit? In a Washington Times editorial, Dr. Mark Neerhof poses this question as it relates to the choice between Paul Ryan’s premium support plan and the IPAB of the current health care law. These need not be our only choices, but any approach which (like these two) collectivize the payment and delivery of health care, decisions about who gets what treatment will be inherently politicized. That's another way of saying it won't be us setting our own medical and financial priorities.

If you want to choose the cake you are going to eat, you had better be willing to pay for it.