If you dislike health care “rationing,” you should hate the status quo

Hilzoy takes on the “rationing” argument against health reform. Her argument is unmatched, and unmatchable.

In response to a Charlotte Allen op-Ed three days ago, hilzoy proved today that under any reasonable construction of what “rationing” means, 47 million Americans currently experience it.

I don’t use the word “proved” lightly. Her arguments are airtight; I can’t envision a rational rebuttal. Megan McArdle tried an irrational one, and hilzoy smashed it again. (Essentially, McArdle’s argument works only if one assumes away the nagging possibility that an American lacks health insurance.)

I wish I had something clever to add. I don’t. Just read it.

Update: Slight correction (though it won’t seem slight to any analytic philosophers reading!): Hilzoy did not, of course, prove that the condition of the uninsured must be called rationing, full stop. We can call anything anything we want. But she proved that on any reasonable reading of the claim that the Obama health plan (which wouldn’t ban supplemental insurance) would result in health care rationing, the label “rationing” would also apply to those now uninsured. If your currently well-insured aunt would be in danger of rationing under health reform, those now uninsured already face the same danger. Or, if you deny that the uninsured face rationing, you have to clam up about your aunt. If this is confusing, all the more reason to read hilzoy on the subject instead of me.

Author: Andrew Sabl

Andrew Sabl, a political theorist, is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics and Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, both from Princeton University Press. His research interests include political ethics, liberal and democratic theory, toleration, the work of David Hume, and the realist school of contemporary political thought. He is currently finishing a book for Harvard University Press titled The Uses of Hypocrisy: An Essay on Toleration. He divides his time between Toronto and Brooklyn.