Instapundit very recently got in a couple of tremendous points. First, in reaction to C-SPAN’s interview with President Barack H. Obama (that’s what they called him; full transcript converted to HTML by yours truly is here), where Obama acknowledged that “we are out of money,” but said that it’s because of “our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades” — “Bogus. I think, instead, that it has something to do with the fact that Obama has been pouring money down a crony-statist rathole at absolutely astronomical and unprecedented rates. …. ‘I’ve bankrupted the nation, so now your only hope is to pass my healthcare plan.’ That goes beyond chutzpah to the edge of pathological dishonesty.” Bingo. I’ll leave the pathology to others, but the dishonesty part is at least consistent. Beyond that, health care’s relationship to why we’re broke has everything to do with the government’s overinvolvement.
Continuing the previous item, here’s Instapundit’s second point — “…. my biggest worry is that Obamacare will kill health care innovation just as it’s becoming really, really promising.” Ironically, Obamacare would cut costs in the existing system, but keep the costly existing system in place. In a truly free market for medical services, the existing system would have to adapt to treatments that promise to revolutionize medicine as we know it while quickly bringing costs down at the same time. It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s happened time after time in unregulated markets, and there’s no good reason to think it wouldn’t happen in medicine.
Here’s one example of a potential medical cost reduction, followed by a real one we’ve all seen and not sufficiently appreciated: If we were in a truly free medical market, at least some of the adult stem cell treatments being developed would be brought to market faster to replace costly surgeries (like this one; yes, it is a stem cell treatment despite the author’s reluctance to use the term). The problem is that there are obviously vested interests in continuing the current costly care regime. If you don’t think radical cost reductions can happen, how do you explain the continued decline in price for Lasik and its competitors for surgeries and other procedures that are usually unreimbursed? Yours truly noted this a few years ago; Amy Ridenour did a more thorough review in early 2007.
Kaus wonders what will happen if Fiat, which is supposed to buy Chrysler, walks away from Opel, which is owned by GM. So do I. Fiat is also applying intense pressure in the Chrysler bankruptcy case. The Italian carmaker says it is now openly worried that Chrysler’s value is dangerously deteriorating. Wait a minute; we’re only at day 25 or so of what was understood from the beginning to be an up to 60-day process. Cold feet? If so, then what?
Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, according to AP, is Sonia Sotomayer.
Continuing a trend that began within days of Obama’s inauguration, here’s more policy power moving into the White House — “A Cybersecurity Czar With Broad Mandate.” Like other czars, and unlike Cabinet secretaries, this person will probably not require Senate confirmation. Note the absence of establishment media concern over a too-powerful, unaccountable Executive Branch.