November 23, 2009

Former Head for Red Cross, NIH: Damn Right Death Panels Are a Part of Obamacare

Via Hot Air, Dr. Bernardine Healy rips into Obamacare, noting that under the Democratic plan the government will be making choices about how you will be treated, not you, and not your doctor:

The bill takes all sorts of choices out of patients' and doctors' hands. Even mammograms and prostate-specific antigen tests would be similarly restricted by the government for millions of people, and they actually serve as better examples of what happens more broadly to personal medical decision making in the new system.

The ground is being laid already, with the announcement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-appointed body, of new guidelines for mammograms just days ago. Such a board of experts, composed mainly of primary care, prevention, public health, and epidemiology experts, would recommend the list of preventive services covered in the post-health-reform insurance plan that all would have no choice but to buy. Until now, the government's task force has been one voice among several medical groups issuing sometimes conflicting prevention guidelines, leaving room for patient-doctor choice. But in an elevated role under health reform, the federal preventive task force's declarations would carry greater force and have an economic impact on everyone.

Note that Dr. Healy isn't coming at this from any sort of right-wing or even centrist ideology. Even so, she knows the system inside and out and knows that liberals can try to obfuscate as much as they will, and that death panels by any name, are going to cost American lives and decrease both the quality of care and increase the probability that more Americans will die from certain diseases.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 23, 2009 02:14 PM

Oh, it's already happening - people are just beginning to notice, as it hits the 'popular' screenings and diagnostic procedures.

Example - anecdotal, you may say, but this was my experience.

Background - retired military, covered by Tricare Standard (aka Gub'mint managed healthcare).

Hadn't been to see a doctor in a couple of years - hey, if I'm not sick, why waste their time, my time, and somebodies money, right?

Went to a 'doc in the box' outpatient GP non-emergency type establishment in the Hampton Roads, Va, area, along with my new wife, going for an initial visit to get scripts for her diabetes supplies. Since I'm there, figured I'd get a 'wellness check'.

The attending, knowing I was Tricare, actually asked my wife 'why is he here?'

She did a very abbreviated look see and history, and was about to send me on my way without even pulling any labs. Being a 20+ year smoker, I popped up and said - um, hey, mind if I get a chest X-ray?

The doc looked taken aback, and asked "why?" (this is, of course, after the history, with the disclosure of long term tobacco use). She kinda shrugged, and went 'ok', and ordered the xray (which took about 5 minutes using a digitized, no consumables process, btw). No discussion of the efficacy of the test. No presentation of potential diagnostic alternatives.

Not sure how long she spent looking at it, but she said it looked 'fine'. She also brushed off the computerized 'irregular' reading that the 45 second EKG gave, chalking it up to my heart having adapted to deal with slightly elevated BP.

Although the entire episode seemed somewhat bizarre, hey, what do I, a layman, know of the dark shamanic arts of medicine, eh?

The light bulb moment came when I got the co-pay bill - Tricare declined to pay for anything over a fraction of the X-ray procedure - I think they allowed something like $10 - for which the doc-in-a-box place valuated at around $95-$100.

In a way, I almost feel on the sideline for most of the Obamacare discussion - because, as I mentioned, I'm already on 'Gub'mint Healthcare' - with my only concern being the overall likely economic impact and damage to the economy.

But as for how life will be? I think I'm already 'living the dream' in this case.

Lucky me, eh? To be so ahead of the curve?

It ain't exactly a place I think everybody will be comfortable, or can live (literally) with.

Posted by: Wind Rider at November 23, 2009 04:14 PM

I am hopeful of two things. First, that Americans will work through our political system, sooner rather than later, to stop this insanity, or to reverse it by throwing the lunatics and would-be despots responsible out of office at the earliest opportunity.

And I hope, yet I worry, that this might not be possible, and that Obama and the Dems, acting out of desperation as they see their 60's-drug addled utopian fantasies potentially slipping away will revert to Chicago/union style thuggish tactics and attempt to seize ultimate control. Then, God help us all, we'd discover if American is truly still populated by Americans or by pseudo Europeans.

I hope that none of this ever comes to pass, but I suspect and hope that if it does, our would be masters will discover that they have badly "misunderestimated" the common folk, and that we are indeed Americans, not Europeans content to take whatever the government will hand out. When parents are jailed for being unable or unwilling to pay for mandated insurance policies, when the young die from diseases that could have been easily detected and treated, and when grandpa and grandma are condemned to death in the name of hopenchangy socialist utopia, Americans will not abide it, and God help those who oppose them. Americans are a peaceful people who want only to be left alone, but there are lines that no politician dare cross, and I do not refer to reelection. Revolution is not only in American blood, it is American blood, as Jefferson himself knew and wrote. Politicians would do well to remember that.

Posted by: mikemcdaniel at November 24, 2009 02:22 AM