Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barry's own death doctors

He claims we can keep our health care if we like it. That's a lie.

He claims the costs won't be as high as the CBO claims, and he asserts that this reform will be deficit neutral. Another lie.

He has said that everyone will have coverage. As Betsy McCaughey notes today, that's not true at all:

THE health bills coming out of Congress would put the de cisions about your care in the hands of presidential appointees. They'd decide what plans cover, how much leeway your doctor will have and what seniors get under Medicare.

Yet at least two of President Obama's top health advisers should never be trusted with that power.

Start with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. He has already been appointed to two key positions: health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Emanuel bluntly admits that the cuts will not be pain-free. "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely 'lipstick' cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change," he wrote last year (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).

Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, "as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others" (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

Yes, that's what patients want their doctors to do. But Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else. ...

He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: "Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years" (Lancet, Jan. 31). ...

Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, agrees. He recommends slowing medical innovation to control health spending.

Blumenthal has long advocated government health-spending controls, though he concedes they're "associated with longer waits" and "reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices" (New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001). But he calls it "debatable" whether the timely care Americans get is worth the cost. (Ask a cancer patient, and you'll get a different answer. Delay lowers your chances of survival.)

Obama appointed Blumenthal as national coordinator of health-information technology, a job that involves making sure doctors obey electronically deivered guidelines about what care the government deems appropriate and cost effective.

In the April 9 New England Journal of Medicine, Blumenthal predicted that many doctors would resist "embedded clinical decision support" -- a euphemism for computers telling doctors what to do.

Do you understand what these two men would do? Emanuel advocates allowing the elderly to die to save costs! Give them a pill, and send them to a hospice counselor (mandated every five years by the House bill), and prepare them to die. Sure, it's more "humane" than what the Brits did, which was encourage the elderly, if sick, to stay home and basically die. But not by much.

Blumenthal is all for basically slowing medical technology discovery to a crawl to cut down on costs. Additionally, he points out that the reform may have a problem with doctors refusing to abide by what the bureaucracy tells them to do. As Emanuel notes, there's a little matter known as the "Hippocratic Oath." Not surprising to see a man so enamoured with a eugenics idea claims the Hippocratic Oath is being "taken too seriously."

These are just two of the people that'll be involved in this reform if it passes. One believes in simply letting the elderly die, alone -- unremarked, and uncared for -- while the other believes it's time to slow down on health care innovations, regardless of the benefits it can bring to people around the world. And why? I'm sure there is a some personal, ideological reason behind it, but in all honesty it comes down to one thing for them.

The bean counters.

They're concerned with costs, but they won't address the one cost that can be controlled. If tort reform were enacted prior to any health care reform, which it should be, we would watch health care costs go down. Doctors wouldn't need to take out so much malpractice insurance for frivolous lawsuits. But we are a sue-happy society, and people will sue doctors at the drop of a hat over the most inane things. I'm all for going after a doctor that has done something seriously wrong. But that's not what the vast majority of malpractice lawsuits involve. They're ambulance chasers and get-rich-quick scams. They clog up the legal system and compound health care costs. But Congress would never cut off it's nose to spite it's face. They have too much support and too much money coming in from trial lawyers to even consider tort reform.

Barry's got both of the people he wants to explain why these cost-cutting measures are necessary. What they won't be able to explain is how this reform has anything to do with liberty and freedom. Thomas Jefferson was correct: "The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." And Barry is growing it at an exponential rate, and should this reform pass it'll be the most intrusive program in our day-to-day lives.

Publius II


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