Thursday, February 16, 2006

Think of health care services as being a commodity, like, say, Manolos

Kevin Drum marvels at Bush, who's pushing tax-deductible HSA's as an alternative to traditional health insurance plans, trying to sell Americans on the notion that they're not paying enough for health care. Wouldn't it be marvelous, Bush is saying, if we all had the splendid opportunity to bargain shop for cheaper health care?

What kind of clueless, out-of-touch tool, I ask you, thinks that necessary health care services ought to be treated like boob jobs and botox injections? Say, maybe we can look forward to days of two-for-one gall bladder removals and coupon clipping for chemotherapy. This has particular resonance for me as my mother, who has advanced ovarian cancer, has been in the hospital for weeks. It's hard enough just making sure the nurses read and follow the doctors' orders - I can't imagine having to worry about bargain shopping on top of everything else. "Say, doc, maybe we could cut the morphine dose in half, to save some money. Let her writhe a little."

Grace sums this idiocy up in one sentence: "Really, how can someone not see the wisdom in choosing to tax-shelter money that you don't have in exchange for medical care that you do need?"


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