George WillFrankly Curious' favorite economist, Dean Baker, takes a bite out of conservative affirmative action case George Will. Following the presidential debate, Will is screaming, "Healthcare rationing!" This isn't even a canard; it's a lie. There is no way that George Will is this stupid or ignorant.

As we know from economics, or even arithmetic, all things are rationed. A private insurance company rations healthcare. And even more to the point, healthcare is really rationed for the 50 million people without insurance. But Will doesn't care about those people. No. He's out there making sure that we provide healthcare to babies born without brains, because those are the people who are the real victims of our broken healthcare system. This is typical of conservatives, of course: they are always more worried about unborn children than born children. I think it's because they don't much like actual people.

I should be clear: George Will does not use the "brainless baby" as an example. No one does. But when Oregon decided that they were going to prioritize healthcare, last on the list of procedures to spend money on was keeping babies born without brains alive. The point is that there are limited resources and I am proud to admit that I think those resources are better used on, say, heart surgeries and insulin prescriptions. (Note: only three children with anencephaly have ever lived any length of time even with medical care. By far the longest is three and a half years.)

After Wednesday's debate, I had a conversation with a conservative who was surprised when I explained that the ACA was just like the laws that say you have to have auto insurance to drive. This conservative thought this was a good idea. (He should! It's a conservative idea!) He explained that he thought the ACA was a government takeover of healthcare. Now why would he think that? Perhaps because people like George Will are constantly implying this?

No one is stopping the rich from getting any healthcare they can afford—just like now. So what are conservative upset about? Chick Deney will continue to get spare body parts so the rest of us will have to put up with him until his cells won't regenerate at 124 years old (and who knows, they may come up with something for that too). But no, George Will screams, "Rationing!"

Dean Baker explains:

George Will then trumpets this as rationing of health care. Of course under this system, anyone will be able to get whatever health care they want, they will just have to pay for it out of their own pocket. The fact that Will now calls this situation "rationing" of care shows the state of modern conservatism.

Btw, [this is] the same situation under all the plans put forward by Governor Romney and Representative Ryan. There is no insurance company that covers all care. So insurers will decide which procedures they want to pay for. Furthermore, unlike Medicare, there will be no elected representatives who can overturn their decisions. They can also change coverage on people unexpectedly—that is unless pointy headed bureaucrats in Washington stand in their way.

George Will: freedom fighter.