Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obamacare: Fountain Of Euthanasia

In my last post I complained about no one reading legislation before voting on it. That complaint - at least in the case of congressional members' culpability - stands. There is good news, however, and that is that someone is reading the bills. That someone is none other than the highly unlikely source of CNNs Money magazine, CNNMoney.com. Additionally, former senator Fred Thompson has also weighed in on the subject.

The CNN piece deals with the loss of medical freedoms that will be the result of this legislation's passage, while Thompson's discovery is a bit more, shall we say, ominous.

In a piece titled 5 freedoms you'd lose in health care reform, with the subtitle warning:

If you read the fine print in the Congressional plans, you'll find that a lot of cherished aspects of the current system would disappear.
Shawn Tully lays out what this plan will do to us.

First on the list is the loss of freedom to choose what's in your plan. Since many states require expensive "standard benefits packages", people living in those states will have no alternative but to take what the state plan offers. Next, the government will not have a graduated premium structure, meaning that a 30-year-old healthy person will pay nearly the same premiums as a 50-year-old with emphysema.

Third, the plan eliminates the option of choosing high-deductible coverage, something that many lower income people choose as a way of reducing their premiums. So while a youger, healthier person will pay more than their actual cost, while an older person - who can usually afford to pay more - will get a big discount, and the younger person can't even offset his payments with the high deductible.

Number four is of particular interest because it directly contadicts Obama's insistence that "if you like your current health plan, you keep it, period". What he neglects to mention, however, is that if you work for a large company regulated by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974, you can only keep your coverage for a maximum of five years. The reason? After five years, those companies would have to offer only "approved" plans.

For number five - Freedom to choose your doctors - I am simply going to provide an excerpt from the linked article as it says it much better than I could:
The Senate bill requires that Americans buying through the exchanges -- and as we've seen, that will soon be most Americans -- must get their care through something called "medical home." Medical home is similar to an HMO. You're assigned a primary care doctor, and the doctor controls your access to specialists. The primary care physicians will decide which services, like MRIs and other diagnostic scans, are best for you, and will decide when you really need to see a cardiologists or orthopedists.

Under the proposals, the gatekeepers would theoretically guide patients to tests and treatments that have proved most cost-effective. The danger is that doctors will be financially rewarded for denying care, as were HMO physicians more than a decade ago. It was consumer outrage over despotic gatekeepers that made the HMOs so unpopular, and killed what was billed as the solution to America's health-care cost explosion.
Yesterday on his radio show, Fred Thompson interviewed former lieutenant governor of New York, Betsy McCaughey, who has also read the health care bill. What she discovered on page 425 of the bill makes one believe that Tom Daschle, a contributing author, must have gotten some tips from Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Anyone enrolled in Medicare will be required to undergo "life-ending" counseling every five years, and immediately if diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. And if you're thinking that you'll take care of Mom with your savings, think again; just like other countries with socialized medicine, no unfairness like the ability to pay for extra care will be tolerated.

Unless you wish to see your grandma setting off on a sort of Logan's Run, I urge you to spread this information to everyone you know. The audio of the Thompson-McCaughey interview can be heard here.

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1 comment:

Carla said...

This proposal is a response to those families who didn’t know their loved ones’ preferences when confronted with difficult decisions in an emergency. It empowers individuals to choose the best decisions for themselves, and better ensure their wishes are followed.

Section 1233 of the health care reform bill is being deliberately distorted.
Fact: Advance planning consultations are a completely voluntary, not mandatory.
Fact: No one will be forced to sign an advance care directive.
Fact: The legislation is endorsed by the Providence Health System, a Catholic health care provider.
Fact: Only a doctor or nurse practitioner can counsel patients.

Carla Axtman
Online Community Builder
Compassion & Choices