Lefties are telling us all the time that the rich have too much influence in politics.
[I]n a Rolling Stone interview, Bill Gates joins the chorus. He says–like bioethicist Daniel Callahan–that we have to be careful about making technological improvements in medicine because we won’t want to make them available to all. From the interview:
G:…If you accelerate certain things but aren’t careful about whether you want to make those innovations available to everyone, then you’re intensifying the cost in such a way that you’ll overwhelm all the resources.
RS: Like million-dollar chemotherapy treatments.
G: Yeah, or organ transplants for people in their seventies from new artificial organs being grown. There is a lot of medical technology for which, unless you can make judgments about who should buy it, you will have to invade other government functions to find the money. Joint replacement is another example. There are four or five of these innovations down the pipe that are huge, huge things.
RS: Yeah, but when people start talking about these issues, we start hearing loaded phrases like “death panels” and suggestions that government bureaucrats are going to decide when it’s time to pull the plug on Grandma.
G: The idea that there aren’t trade-offs is an outrageous thing. Most countries know that there are trade-offs, but here, we manage to have the notion that there aren’t any. So that’s unfortunate, to not have people think, “Hey, there are finite resources here.”
Says the world’s richest man.
Bill Gates is a smart guy; I knew he’d catch up with Sarah Palin on death panels eventually. Now, if only Barak Obama could match her on Ukraine.
But let’s look at his argument. Seventy-year-olds shouldn’t get organ replacements—those should go to… whom exactly? How many twenty-year-olds need new livers? Some, of course, but why rule out a class of people who through no fault of their own might need a replacement part after decades of honest living? Merely because they committed the crime of outliving their “usefulness”. We already make these tough decisions based on strict medical criteria, so what is he proposing to change, and why? Disturbing.
And how “limited” are our resources? Bill Gates himself could probably pay for everyone in the country to swap corneas, kidneys, bangers and mash, you name it, with each other—and then swap ‘em back! He chooses to waste his millions on clean drinking water for Africans instead. His money, his choice, God bless him, and I’m not serious (you Lefty haters) about it being a waste. But if Bill and Melinda Gates wanted to develop an organ bank, it would be the J.P. Morgan/Citigroup/Barclay’s of organ banks, with rows upon rows of hearts, lungs, and other offal on ice in massive sterile warehouses under bright fluorescent lights. They’d be growing new vitals like Colorado pot farmers grow weed.
And what of our government? Bill Gates is a pauper compared to the resources Obama can throw around (with a pen and a phone). Why are we extending unemployment benefits to people for a third year when grandma’s heart is giving out? EBT cards for scratch tickets, but little frail Johnny can’t get the liver he so desperately needs. Golf vacations in Florida, skiing jaunts in Aspen (separate and simultaneous), but no new lungs for sweet, adorable Maria, the first-generation daughter of hard working Guatemalan immigrants?
Bill Gates is asking us to trust government with these decisions? The people who brought us Lois Lerner?
It may be too late, America, but I don’t think so. We have walked to the brink and seen the abyss. It’s time to step back.
Spare me the sob story, and I’ll spare you the surgery.