They never call them death panels and liberals like to laugh at conservatives when they use the term, but read the quotes from a guy nominated for the Social Security board by President Obama and see if you think he seems to be in favor of government bureaucrats deciding whether it’s worth it to keep you alive.

His name is Henry Aaron:

“If Americans are serious about curbing medical costs, they’ll have to face up to a much tougher issue than merely cutting waste, says Brookings Institution economist Henry J. Aaron.

“They’ll have to do what the British have done: ration some types of costly medical care — which means turning away patients from proven treatments.”

He’s another one of those government geniuses who likes to use Europe as a model for what he thinks we should be doing here.

“Some medical services widely available in the United States are strictly rationed in Britain, Aaron and Schwartz report in their book, ‘The Painful Prescription.’ For example, British doctors order half as many X-rays per capita as their American counterparts, and use half as much film per X-ray. They do one-tenth as much coronary artery bypass surgery. British hospitals have one-sixth as many CAT scanners and less than one-fifth as many intensive care unit (ICU) beds….

“Half the patients with chronic kidney failure in Britain are left untreated — and die as a result….

“The key to the British system, they contend, lies not in regulation but in a different attitude toward medicine, mortality and the scarcity of resources.

“Unlike their American counterparts, who tend to believe in saving lives at all cost, British doctors define ‘what is best’ in terms of ‘what is available,’ Aaron said.

Yeah. Let’s see if we can get the government more involved in our healthcare so that we can be more like the British.



  • Howard

    The quantity of x-rays and cat scans is not an accurate barometer for the differences in the quality of our health care system compared to other systems and countries. The truth of the matter is that our system is fraught with waste and frivolity that has nothing to do with government intervention and everything to do with the greed of some doctors and the bloated nature of the health insurance beauracracies.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

      All I know is that I can get an MRI in one day. In Canada it’s three months.

      • Mason

        I agree Howard, but Paul nailed the primary culprit above. With the cost of malpractice insurance and number of frivilous lawsuits associated to medical treatment, a doctor would be crazy not to go overboard with things like X-rays and mri’s etc. I’m sure he insurance companies prefer this method also. 1,000 X-rays would be much less expensive than a settlement payout to avoid an expensive defense of a crazy lawsuit. I am in no way discounted all medical lawsuits, but people know simply filing suit in a remotely questionable event will result in a quick settlement check.

      • howard

        You have good insurance or the ability to pay for it outright. The problem with our healthcare is that we have the same problems that you’ve pointed out in other countries right here based on the individual plan of private health insurance companies. I think laws on the books that no longer allow providers to discriminate in their activation of what is and isn’t covered is a good step. There’s a reason we are where we are in the world’s ranking of health care and it has a lot to do with publicly traded health conglomerates and what they have done to the insured. They’ve created this crisis on their own.

        Not everyone, even those with what is considered good insurance can get that MRI when their doctor says that they need it. I know…I’m one of them. Had to do it out of my own pocket 2 years ago, and had to pay for one for my wife 3 years ago too. What if I couldn’t have? You make the argument of picking your own doctor. I’ve had to change my family doctor twice in the last 6 years because they were no longer in my “network”.

        I understand your sentiment, but the problem with your argument is that you are denying the facts that healthcare in our country is fucked. Health insurance is not equal for all people, and health care even for those who can afford to get insurance or have good jobs that provide coverage can be under insured or have the rules changed as their own health standard changes.

        Your argument is that in Canada you have to wait to get an MRI in 3 months, my argument is that if I didn’t have the means to shell out a few grand to pay for my own MRI because it was deemed unnecessary by some private sector paper pusher even though my doctor said it was necessary…how is that any better?? Seems worse to me.

        I don’t know the right answer….but we need to find one. This notion that all that ails us stems from government intervention in otherwise good intentioned private sector companies is a shell game where it is easy to cast blame but ignore the root of the problems.


        • howard
          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            This guy has a problem with doctors being wealthy? Are we going to get people to be proctologists and urologists out of the goodness of their hearts? Anybody who uses Greece as a model for anything loses me.

          • howard

            That’s really all you got out of the article? Seriously?

          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            Anybody who resents the money that doctors make loses me. Seriously. I don’t think it’s possible to pay a guy who operates on brains too much money. And I feel the same about a proctologist The amount of work it takes to become a doctor and what they have to do once them become one requires huge incentives — meaning lots of money, If we were able to keep our own money and and buy high deductible insurance and pay for most of our care out of pocket, it wouldn’t matter how much the doctors make and rthe government wouldn’t have to be involved.

        • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

          How many people leave the US and go to Europe for health care and how many leave there to come here? You should be in favor of medical savings accounts. If I had been “allowed” to save what the government took out of my check for the last 35 years for medicare, I could have $100,000 or more available to pay for my own expenses. I could have a $50,000 deductible for catastrophic insurance. The doctors and hospitals would know that I and millions of other people were paying with our own money and would be asking the one question that is NEVER asked by patients..”How much is this going to cost.?” That puts an end to the $25 aspirin. Where does it say everybody should have equal health insurance? It’s not a right.

          • howard

            People don’t always know what type of healthcare that they have. Similar to how people go 6 months or longer paying one bank for their mortgage and out of nowhere find out that their mortgage is now owned by a different bank, and their due date has changed. Healthcare plans change. The line of what is and isn’t good insurance changes frequently. It happened to me.

            It doesn’t say that everyone should have equal insurance. I would settle for equal insurance to what I had 5 years ago at the same company when I paid less into it. But now I pay more and have less coverage, higher co-pays, etc..

            I have no problem with doctors attaining wealth, I have a problem if they attain their wealth in less than ethical ways and that greed in turn becomes a burden on the consumer and lessens the quality of how I can or can’t attain any needed coverage. Here’s an example…I had a surgery when I was a kid…nothing major, just tore cartilage in a football game…my dad had a blue collar job where his best year he made $35k. Every time I had a doctor visit they would do an x-ray. When we would get a copy of the bill it said “diagnostic x-ray $150”. The day my surgery was scheduled I had a sore throat. Apparently this is dangerous with the anesthesia. So they took a strep throat culture and my surgery had to be rescheduled. When the copy of the final bill came my surgery was $75k. I had a pre-surgery appointment the day before the scheduled surgery and they took an x-ray. They took an x-ray the next morning after they took the throat culture. When we looked at the bill, there were charges for 3 diagnostic X-Rays. So, a throat culture was listed and charged as a diagnostic X-Ray. This was a simple knee surgery. In a 4 week span I had more than 10 X-Rays, one that was charged as an X-Ray that wasn’t and 2 MRI’s. My parents did not pay 1 dime through his insurance at work. This was 1989.

            I have a friend who is a hospital administrator and makes more than $100k a year. Her son suffered a severe shoulder injury in a football game. Her insurance would not pay for the MRI(she paid out of pocket) and when they determined that he needed reconstructive shoulder surgery, she had a $2500 co-pay.

            Think there’s a link between the greed the team doctor who did my surgery exhibited and the lack of coverage today for a much more serious injury that my friend’s son had?

            In addition my dad had 0 co-pays back then. We never paid a dime to go to the doctor office, and certainly didn’t think of the cost of the surgery because we had insurance. Under-insured and not knowing the limits to your insurance plan is as big of a problem as uninsured. Getting cancer and getting dropped by your insurance is a problem. Needing to have a procedure and not having the ability to pay a 20% co-pay is a problem.

            I have no problem with people attaining wealth. I have a problem with greed and the unrelenting nature of how that greed has fucked our system. I make a really good living. My friend that I just told you about makes a really good living. Where would I be if I didn’t?

            Insurance is the problem. They are the greediest motherfuckers of all. So, you’re right….it’s not a right for all to have equal health insurance….but wouldn’t it be nice to have health insurance that’s equal to 1989?

            “How many people leave the US and go to Europe for health care and how many leave there to come here? ” Good point. The problem with that assertion is this…I doubt people who are not of means leave come here for health care. The people who come here to get top notch health care are probably similar in stature to the people in this country who don’t have an understanding regarding the problems in our system.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            And the more the government gets involved the more expensive it gets. Everybody agrees that our premiums will go up is Obamacare survives. The government has been forcing insurance companies to cover everything. You have it backwards. When people were paying their doctor bills out of pocket, insurance was cheaper. It makes sense. Obama is forcing insurance companies to keep “children” on their parents policy until their 26. You and I will be paying for that. I have nieces and nephews who are uninsured and it has nothing to do with their ability to afford it. They spend their money on other things and don’t care. As I’ve said here many times, when I was a kid it wasn’t called health insurance. It was caled hospitalization. My parents had Blue Cross/Blue Shield for hospital care. The doctor bills for their five kids were paid out of their own pocket. The doctor did house calls. He handed my dad a bill and he paid it. I can remember parents yelling at me for throwing rocks. They would say, “If you hit my son with one of those, your parents are going to pay his doctor bills.”
            Imagine someone saying that now. Now we get “free” doctor visits. Insurance pays for birth control pills and viagra. Nobody ever looks at the bill from the doctor because someone else is paying for it. What if, instead of all that money that was taken from me and put into medicare and social security, I had been able to put that money in a fund? I’ve been pretty healthy. Most of the money would still be there. I could have a $20,000 deductible policy. If I stayed healthy and didn’t have a lot of expense at the time of my death, that pile of money would still be there. I could LEAVE it to my kids. They could add it to their midical saving account and it could continue to be passed along. Why would anybody prefer the fraud and waste of medicare to that? And the best part of it all would be that people –because they’re using THEIR OWN MONEY –would always be asking HOW MUCH. That would do more to keep the costs down than anything the government could come up with.

  • Chuck

    So the Dutch are considering Euthanasia for the sick and the lonely? How about including pedophiles because I know a certain ex Penn State coach who we can ship over to the Netherlands as a guinea pig to start their program…….

  • Shecky

    But…but…as enlightened, Zen-like philosopher Katie Couric once stated, “we need to be more like France.”

    We all want Katie to be happy and this would be a good start.

    • Donald

      Shecky, disingenuous liberals such as Couric can talk that way because she’s a multi-millionaire that will NEVER have to worry about medical care.

      She’ll fly to a Caribbean island to have her medical care handled by the best, while the rest of us suffer Cuban medical care. The rest of us being the poor and middle class who are unable to flee the government care system.

      That’s why these rich liberals make me sick. Pun.

  • Niblick

    Obviously, I don’t want to be part of a system that could possibly jeopardize my health by not giving me the best care available. But, there are times I question the extent of that care. Because of insurance reimbursements, should we question things like the number of x-rays given or the number of follow-up visits required?

    I am sure we all can relate to illnesses that we have had where the original physician refers you to a specialist. The specialist does his thing, sometime involving a number of x-rays. Then you are treated and told to come back. You are probably x-rayed again if your injury required it. Then you are sent away and told to come back at some later date. A follow-up may be important, but are multiple follow-ups and x-rays necessary? This may be a poor example, but I think it might be a good idea to question the extent of the care that we have here in the U.S.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

      There are doctors scamming the system but I’ll take that over waiting three months for an MRI in Canada.

  • Paul

    “British doctors order half as many X-rays per capita as their American counterparts, and use half as much film per X-ray.”

    I look at this example as having to do more with the outlandish lawsuits that are allowed to take place here thanks to lawyers and the lawyers we elect into office.

    They take twice as many x-rays because they have to cover their asses in case there’s a lawsuit coming in the future. That’s the main reason costs are out of control here.

  • Lefty

    We should pay attention to the first part of the “Death Paneltist’s” statement. Concentrate on doing what’s best for the patient. Because he’s right. America has a completely screwed up sense of our own mortality, and doctors here illustrate that fact.
    Palliative care should be utilized much more than it is, which would both bring more dignity to people who are going to die anyway, and will save billions of dollars in un-needed treatments. THIS was the point of the death panel provision in the first place — paying doctors to have end-of-life discussions with patients, because without the impetus of money spurning the doctors on, these conversations are rarely held.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

      Who makes the final decision on whether my life is worth saving, Barney Frank?

      • Mike from Monroeville

        Raise taxes or die

        • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

          Yeah. Don’t cut that spending. We’re not taxed enough,

          • Mike from Monroeville

            We arent taxed enough. Taxes are the lowest they’ve been in decades as a percentage of GDP

          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            Yeah. Working until May to pay our taxes isn’t enough. We should work until August.

          • Mike from Monroeville

            I posted the statistics here before. You just refuse to accept that taxes are the lowest in years. And Obama has cut them further.

          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            It took what ended up being the worst loss for democrats in about 100 years for him to allow the Bush tax cuts to stay in place. .When Reagan left office the top rate was 28%. Now it’s 39%. The economy strinks…that’s why the % of GDP is low.

          • howard
          • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

            Take a look at social security taxes:

            Maximum taxable
            OASDI tax
            rate [2]
            HI tax
            rate [3]
            Maximum taxable
            OASDI tax
            rate [2]
            HI tax
            rate [3]
            1937 3,000 2% – 1972 9,000 9.2% 1.2%
            1938 3,000 2% – 1973 10,800 9.7% 2.0%
            1939 3,000 2% – 1974 13,200 9.9% 1.8%
            1940 3,000 2% – 1975 14,100 9.9% 1.8%
            1941 3,000 2% – 1976 15,300 9.9% 1.8%
            1942 3,000 2% – 1977 16,500 9.9% 1.8%
            1943 3,000 2% – 1978 17,700 10.1% 2.0%
            1944 3,000 2% – 1979 22,900 10.16% 2.1%
            1945 3,000 2% – 1980 25,900 10.16% 2.1%
            1946 3,000 2% – 1981 29,700 10.7% 2.6%
            1947 3,000 2% – 1982 32,400 10.8% 2.6%
            1948 3,000 2% – 1983 35,700 10.8% 2.6%
            1949 3,000 2% – 1984 37,800 11.4% 2.6%
            1950 3,000 3% – 1985 39,600 11.4% 2.7%
            1951 3,600 3% – 1986 42,000 11.4% 2.9%
            1952 3,600 3% – 1987 43,800 11.4% 2.9%
            1953 3,600 3% – 1988 45,000 12.12% 2.9%
            1954 3,600 4% – 1989 48,000 12.12% 2.9%
            1955 4,200 4% – 1990 51,300 12.4% 2.9%
            1956 4,200 4% – 1991 53,400 12.4% 2.9%
            1957 4,200 4.5% – 1992 55,500 12.4% 2.9%
            1958 4,200 4.5% – 1993 57,600 12.4% 2.9%
            1959 4,800 5% – 1994 60,600 12.4% 2.9%
            1960 4,800 6% – 1995 61,200 12.4% 2.9%
            1961 4,800 6% – 1996 62,700 12.4% 2.9%
            1962 4,800 6.25% – 1997 65,400 12.4% 2.9%
            1963 4,800 7.25% – 1998 68,400 12.4% 2.9%
            1964 4,800 7.25% – 1999 72,600 12.4% 2.9%
            1965 4,800 7.25% – 2000 76,200 12.4% 2.9%
            1966 6,600 7.7% 0.7% 2001 80,400 12.4% 2.9%
            1967 6,600 7.8% 1.0% 2002 84,900 12.4% 2.9%
            1968 7,800 7.6% 1.2% 2003 87,000 12.4% 2.9%
            1969 7,800 8.4% 1.2% 2004 87,900 12.4% 2.9%
            1970 7,800 8.4% 1.2% 2005 90,000 12.4% 2.9%
            1971 7,800 9.2% 1.2% 2006 94,200 12.4% 2.9%
            2007 97,500 12.4% 2.9%
            2008 102,000 12.4% 2.9%
            2009 106,800 12.4% 2.9%
            2010 106,800 12.4% 2.9%
            2011 [4] 106,800 10.4% 2.9%

            When SS began we were told that only the first $3,000 of our income would be taxed. Now it’s up to $106,000.

          • Mike from Monroeville

            Taxes as a percentage of GDP is now 14.4%


            The last year it was that low was 1950.

          • JC

            Wow did you just say that? We aren’t taxed enough? Wow… What… a… tool!

          • Mike from Monroeville

            I cant help that you are ignorant of the facts. Educate yourself and stop the name calling.

          • Paul

            Mike from Moscow strikes again!

  • IsraelP

    The Dutch are going them one better.
    Euthanasia for the poor and lonely.


  • oksteelerfan

    The government deciding who is worth saving and who is not? Sounds like a great plan until it’s your life on the line or your spouse or your child.

    • Donald

      Just like most socialism (in any form) sounds good until it’s YOU paying the costs for somebody else “benefitting”.

  • Cetner

    John, one word comes to mind: Frightening