One of my mother’s favorite sayings is, “you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul.” I was reminded of this by the recent health care bill — it merely robs from Medicare to create a new entitlement program — and mom doesn’t like it.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree seems to think the legislation did not go far enough (Maine Voices, April 16).

Economists like to use the word triage when discussing the health care dilemma: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care.

The term better illustrates the potential impact of the health care legislation than any current “crisis”. Historically, doctors and nurses must make life-and-death decisions based on the likelihood of survival and the limited availability of resources — medication, nurses, doctors, etc.

Under the new health care law, the government will now take a larger role in this triage process.

According to an article in The New York Times, “Mr. Obama has urged advisers to consider moving sooner to set up an Independent Advisory Board for controlling Medicare spending.”

Independent Advisory Board? Control? The article continues, “Some administration officials fear that creating the board before 2014 could prematurely make it a target for attacks by people worried about a ‘death panel.’ “

Sounds like an exaggeration. However, this Independent Advisory Board will be forced to participate in the economics of triage, to serve as the hand that will guide doctors and nurses through the battlefield of Medicare, and it will make decisions based upon economics.

Rep. Pingree continues to cite human pain and suffering as the motivation for passing the largest piece of social legislation ever.

She should know better. Nancy Pelosi and Chellie Pingree cannot wave a magic wand and make everyone better. Neither can an “Independent Advisory Board.” They are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Even worse, they are creating a government panel to determine who will get care, and who will not.


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