Friday, January 11, 2008

Organ Rejection

Last night before the GOP debate, JB and I were chatting about politics and we realized that we both have come to some similar conclusions about the Democratic field:

- No matter how leftist his policies may be, there's no denying that having a President Obama would make for interesting times. Not necessarily bad or good, but interesting.

- Having another President Clinton would be infinitely preferable to the nightmarish prospect of a President Edwards.

Thankfully, the chances of John Edwards getting anywhere near the White House now appear quite remote. For more on why John Edwards is the most dishonest, despicable Democrat to seek the White House in our lifetimes, consider a piece in today's Wall Street Journal by Scott Gottlieb on Edwards and Organ Transplants (free for all--as now is ALL the WSJ's editorial content):

Campaigning in the primaries, former Sen. John Edwards is leveraging the tragic story of Nataline Sarkisyan -- the 17-year-old California woman who recently died awaiting a liver transplant -- to press his political attack on insurance companies and argue for European-style, single-payer health care. But the former trial lawyer, accustomed to using anecdotes of human suffering to frame his rhetoric, is twisting the facts. Organ transplantation, like many areas of medicine, provides a poor basis for his political thesis that single-payer health care offers a more equitable allocation of scarce resources, or better clinical outcomes.

But Edwards never lets pesky little things like facts and data never get in the way of his demagogic rhetoric:

Mr. Edwards seized on the case. "We're gonna take their power away and we're not gonna have this kind of problem again," he said on Dec. 21. "These are living and breathing examples of what I'm talking about and there are millions more just like them," Mr. Edwards told reporters on Jan. 6. An edited video of his attacks on CIGNA has posted on YouTube.

This is classic Edwards. In the same breath make threats that you have dubious ability to make good on, grossly exaggerate the nature of the problem, and finally make promises that you full well know are IMPOSSIBLE to keep.

Research provides little support to Mr. Edward's underlying premise that single-payer health-care systems would do better. On balance, data suggests that in the U.S. transplant patients do quite well compared to their European counterparts, with significantly more opportunities to undergo transplant procedures, survive the surgery, and benefit from new organs.

Interesting. Somehow the "millions" more that Edwards refers to just aren't showing up in the data.

The bottom line in these cases is that at the end of the day, no matter what sort of health care system you have, someone is going to have to make a decision:

Ideally, everyone who can benefit from an organ transplant would receive one, especially a young patient like Ms. Sarkisyan. But with more patients than available organs, some form of allocation procedure involving administrative judgments is inevitable. In Ms. Sarkisyan's case, that judgment was made by CIGNA, in an advisory capacity to her father's employer, interpreting the terms of the employer's health-insurance contract. In the U.K. and other European systems -- and in the U.S. single-payer system favored by Mr. Edwards -- those judgments are made solely by a government agency. The available data suggests that the government allocation procedures do a somewhat worse job, as far as health outcomes are concerned, than private allocation procedures in the U.S.

The real choice facing American voters is who they want making that decision. The worst case scenario would be one in which John Edwards has any part in it.

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