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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Healthcare Reform, the beginning of the end?

As news trickles out begrudingly to the unwashed masses, the new world leaders are becoming more visible for their total disconnect from what makes us human. Ezekial Emmanuel, Rahm (the chief of staffs) brother is tapped as the presidents potential Medical Czar, the clarification of the character of this administration becomes more clear. Quotations from previous articles, published by respected journals such a the Lancet provide an insight into the thought processes that terrify me, and should anyone who has respect for the sanctity of the individual, not matter their physical condition. It is part of what makes us American, and what this administration continues to miss.
Emanuel, however, believes that "communitarianism" should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia" (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. '96).
"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). The bills being rushed through Congress will be paid for largely by a $500 billion-plus cut in Medicare over 10 years.
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 a Nov. 16, 2008, Health Care Watch column, Emanuel explained how business should be done: "Every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health-care reform agenda. If the automakers want a bailout, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration's health-reform effort."
Many of the quotations on this page were taken from an article in the New York Post, authored by Betsy McCaughey who is the founder of the Committee to Reduce Infec tion Deaths and a former New York lieutenant governor
I spent the day with friends to celebrate the 97th birthday of my greatest supporter. She is in a wheelchair, wears a hearing aid, and is otherwise terribly healthy. Ten years ago, after a horrendous car accident which took the life of her driver, she was in the ICU for a week. They told me she would not live, I carry POA, and said she would. Her incredible strength, humor and tenacity anchor me and those of us who were with her today. Who in hell is Ezekial, Obama, anyone, to tell me, that her life force is not worthy of their consideration?
Do we begin the slippery slope to dehumanizing us all if we accept this?

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