March 17, 2009


A Hand in the Health Debate (Eugene Robinson, March 17, 2009, Washington Post)

The last thing the surgeon said to me before they rolled me into the operating room was, "You know, if you and Obama had your way with health care, it wouldn't be me doing this operation. It would just be some guy." [...]

Did the experience change my thinking about the health-care debate? Probably.

My misadventure wasn't relevant to one of the central questions, which is whether the most expensive high-tech tests and procedures will somehow have to be rationed if health-care costs are to be brought down. The most exotic test that was done on my hand was an X-ray. The antibiotics I was given are widely used.

What is relevant is that I have good insurance, which I obtain through my employer, and haven't paid a dime out of pocket for my treatment. If I were among the 46 million Americans who are uninsured, I'd be looking at a huge hospital bill. No one should face financial ruin because of a mishap with a fork and an avocado. The way we ration health care now -- according to the individual's ability to pay -- is immoral, and if higher taxes are needed to ensure that no one has to choose between health and bankruptcy, I'll pay. That was my position all along, but now it's personal.

What's changed is that I also feel more strongly about the ability to make my own choices. I decided where I would be treated and, ultimately, what would or wouldn't be done. I'm willing to pay for that, too.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2009 6:23 AM
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