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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    An Odd Incentive Structure

    One argument I often hear regarding Universal Health Care (that I rarely give much credence to) is that it is a conflict of interest to have the same people that are charged with funding your retirement be in charge of prolonging your life. In other words, it creates an incentive to provide less than stellar care, because it means a reduction in social security payouts. Again, I don't think this is a strong argument, despite the fact that it may be technically true. I just can't believe that any policies would be enacted that would see this to fruition.

    However, a similar sort of conflict of interest seems to be too much for Speaker Pelosi:
    STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

    PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government

    Now, there are certainly valid reasons for wanting to extend family planning services. Similarly, I think it is valid that the state supplies services such as education and health care for children (although maybe not to quite the extent that the current congress has decided). Yet, this exchange strikes me as creepy; that the third most powerful person in our government (and one unlikely to be strongly opposed by her senate counterpart or the executive branch) believes that she should be targeting birth rates in order to balance the government's checkbook.

    Again, there are certainly valid reasons to support family planning: reduce the number of abortions, promote womens health, etc... This is certainly not one.

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