Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Bad Medicine For Seniors

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

On a rainy day last week I read the entire 1018 pages detailing the House Democrat’s Health Care Reform Bill. Any House member who supports this bill should be “rode out of town on a rail.” It’s an unmitigated disaster, especially for seniors and the disabled.

The best snake oil salesman in the world would have a rough time selling this “Witch’s Brew.” But the master orator himself, President Barack Obama, is on the hustings trying to do just that. Singing, “Just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down,” won’t be enough to save this bill once folks learn what’s in it.

Last September Obama told Americans, “You’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.” It’s a lie. The U. S. Office of Personnel Management has said Congress enjoys the broadest selection of health care benefits in the country. The government’s version of insurance for the rest of us is a penny-pinching plan with rigid controls and strict oversight.

I’m for saving money, but not at the expense of me or my loved ones being denied health care we need. I don’t want every trip to the doctor to be the equivalent of standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and then wait for a government bureaucrat to authorize what my doctor prescribes for me. No thanks.

The new heath care plan will cost taxpayers up to an estimated $1.6 trillion and will be paid for in part by cutting Medicare benefits to the elderly and disabled by $500 billion. Democrats point to spiraling Medicare costs and the need to contain them. They’re right. But victimizing the oldest, weakest and feeblest among us is not the answer.

Medicare has been assisting seniors and the disabled since 1965. They’ve helped them remain independent rather than sent off to die in what, as kids, we called the “Old folks home.” Apparently the elites running our government today feel it is high time to return to those good old pre-Medicare days.

Last week Betsy McCaughey, chairperson of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Government Care’s Assault on Seniors.” She cites parts of the Democrat’s $825 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year as the precursor for what’s buried in this massive bad health care legislation.

The stimulus bill contained language that revealed government was embarking on its own version of “elder eugenics” by providing significant funding for “comparative effectiveness research;” a term used to describe a study of ways to limit care based on a patient’s age. McCaughey said this formula was used in Britain to deny treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., (R., La.), a heart surgeon, cried out that this research would lead to “denying seniors and the disabled lifesaving care!” Along with Sen. Jon Kyl, (R., Ariz.), they proposed amendments to bar the federal government from using this research as a basis for eliminating treatments for the elderly, or denying care based on age. A majority of Democrats said no. The amendments failed.

Froma Harrop, a liberal scribe, refers to McCaughey as the Sara Palin of health care. In a recent column she chided Palin along with Republicans like Boustany and Kyl for scaring the elderly (a tactic she and the Democrats should be familiar with) into believing they will be forced to end their lives prematurely. Under the new bill, she suggests patients will at least be given a choice.

Let’s face it. This bill isn’t about choice. It’s about money. Harrop’s comments made that exceedingly clear when she wrote, “Is it in your interests to kill reform that would control some of the programs enormous waste and would guarantee health care security for younger workers?” My answer to her would be in the form of another question: “At the expense of who?”

If this health bill is passed, physicians may soon be forced to look beyond the needs of their patients. Instead they will be compelled to comply with the left’s vision of social justice; sacrificing one segment of society for another - all for the good of the state. To me that sounds eerily reminiscent of a period in world history where the Nazi Party of Germany judged individual groups as worthy or not.

Everyone recognizes health care spending needs to be reined in. But this bill is not the way to do it. Tort reform that would reduce excessive jury awards for medical law suits is one option Republicans embrace, but catches no traction with Democrats. Tort reform also lowers the crippling costs of malpractice insurance physicians pass on to their patients.

The goal of any health care reform is creating access for the uninsured. Dr. Ada Fisher, a physician and National Republican Committeewoman from North Carolina suggests the federal government give each of the 3077 U. S. counties up to $10 million to establish or supplement the respective county health departments, basing the specific amount allocated on population. If each received the full amount, the government would spend just over $30.7 billion. That’s a far cry from the $1.6 trillion they are getting ready to spend… and millions of uninsured would have immediate entrée to health care.

These and other options need to be explored further before Congress commits us to a health care system most will come to regret. This issue is too important for “We the people” to allow Congress screw it up.

Excellent article. The reality is Obama does not care about the elderly or any other group in our nation. He only cares about their votes. He, and the Democrats, will say anything they have to say to get this government power over our lives. For that is what this is about. Power for bureaucrats. If you doubt that all you need to note is that the only jobs created since the Obama regime took over are bureaucrat jobs. Giving them this power will destroy the greatest health care system on earth.


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