Enter The Gang Of Five
What do you say we get nine leading dentists together to decide the future of our Middle East policies. Sound like a good idea? How about nine highly trained auto mechanics, after hearing all the arguments, deciding how the U.S. tax system should be restructured. How about that one? A good way to go?
These notions are of course idiotic. But no more inherently so than what is happening now in Washington. Here nine jurists, who collectively no sane person would allow to apply a splint to a broken finger, will soon be determining the shape of the U.S. health care system for decades to come.
Health care is a demographic issue, not a legal issue. More people are living longer. Older people need more medical care. The technologies and treatments to provide it are proliferating, and many of the best are also the most costly.
The only feasible way to pay these extra costs over the long term, while also providing at least basic medical coverage for not-so-rich members of our society, is to spread these costs over the entire population. Whether you do this with a public health system, a private system, or as done in most advanced and civilized societies with a combination of the two, you bring everyone into the paying pool. Otherwise, overall health care inevitably becomes rationed and its quality deteriorates.
Isn’t that obvious?
While no court — employing just legal precedents — should therefore have the ultimate responsibility for how national health care is organized, the court that will actually be doing so in this country is the one that befouled our political system with its Citizens United decision.
Hold on to your walker, mama. The Gang Of Five is revving up to do it again.
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