Noonan offers creative reasons to oppose reform

NOONAN OFFERS CREATIVE REASONS TO OPPOSE REFORM…. The Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan makes her case against health care reform today, and she touches on a few arguments that aren’t part of the usual conservative talking points. Alas, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Steve M. does a nice job going through the column in detail, but this point from Noonan, in particular, stood out for me.

[There are] doctors throughout the country who give patients a break, who quietly underbill someone they know is in trouble, or don’t charge for their services. Also the emergency rooms that provide excellent service for the uninsured in medical crisis. People don’t talk about this much because they’re afraid if they do they’ll lose it, that some government genius will come along and make it illegal for a doctor not to charge or a hospital to fudge around, with mercy, in its billing. People are afraid of losing the parts of the system that sometimes work — the unquantifiable parts, the human parts.

According to Noonan, these “human parts” “lessen, or will lessen, support for full health-care reform.”

I really doubt that. Reform may be a bad idea because some charitable physicians, in some areas, in some instances, might, once in a while, extend arbitrary breaks to some patients? I’ll admit I never thought of this, but only because it’s kind of nutty.

Noonan goes on to argue that reform couldn’t possibly save money, because she doesn’t understand how it could. She proceeds to share an imaginary conversation.

I suspect voters, the past few weeks, have been giving themselves an internal Q-and-A that goes something like this:

Will whatever health care bill is produced by Congress increase the deficit? “Of course.” Will it mean tax increases? “Of course.” Will it mean new fees of fines? “Probably.” Can I afford it right now? “No, I’m already getting clobbered.” Will it make the marketplace freer and better? “Probably not.” Is our health care system in crisis? “Yeah, it has been for years.” Is it the most pressing crisis right now? “No, the economy is.” Will a health-care bill improve the economy? “I doubt it.”

Noonan doesn’t actually support any of these dubious claims, most of which are false, but she’s nevertheless confident telling us she thinks this is what Americans are thinking.

What a strange column.