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Letters: Davenport NEW, Continental Congress, Health-Care Reform - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:59


"Trust Me!"

When politicians ask you to trust them, watch out. Across the nation, citizens are expressing how little faith they have in our government, especially when it involves their health. People are realizing that the thousand-page health-care bill is not the benign piece of legislation that its supporters describe as merely providing a "public option." Constituents have been packing the public meetings of congressmen to voice their opposition to government rationing, government control of health-care plans and delivery, and the utilitarian deprivation of health care to the disabled and elderly. Even the AARP, which has traditionally supported the liberal agenda in health care, has been confronted with angry mobs of senior citizens demanding that they oppose rather than support rationing. Unlike most congressmen who bravely confronted their constituents in an attempt to appease them, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), while visiting the Quad Cities, chose to distance himself from the angry majority by meeting with a personally invited select group of only six people.

The original strategy of the left was to convince the public that this would not affect them. Barack Obama tried to allay the public's fears with statements like: "Nobody wants Canadian-style national health care," "We're just think that people need a public option," and "Everyone can keep their existing health plan. We're not going to change that." This rhetoric was the same used by Senate Democrats who passed a similar bill at the state level. At the beginning of the federal bill, Title I (A)§102 is reassuringly titled "Protecting the choice to keep current coverage." Before you breathe a big sigh of relief consider this: In order to "keep your plan," the plan can't have any new enrollees (including new dependents), can't change premiums, or change any of the benefits or terms and conditions. Health-care plans must change in order to continue operation. While its true that you can keep your existing plan, your existing plan probably won't be able to keep you.

If you don't have insurance, this bill requires you to buy it, and gives broad powers to the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the provisions of this bill. It allows your IRS information to be shared with other agencies in order to encourage enforcement. Voters are afraid of how this bill greatly expands the power of the IRS.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has gotten into the mix by calling Barack Obama "evil" for rationing care to individuals with mental and physical handicaps. All rationing adversely affects those with the greatest health-care needs, but specific provisions on pages 353-354 expand the ability of special-needs plans to restrict enrollment. It appears that they want to keep the handicapped and elderly off the health-care raft.

It is not merely the bill itself that raises concerns about rationing and euthanasia but rather the writings and reasoning of those who Obama selected to promote the system. For example, Obama has anointed Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel as the "Über Führer" of the new rationing scheme. Who better to implement a system of rationing than to appoint an expert in health-care rationing. On page 13 of a 1996 Hastings Center report, he writes: "This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources ... Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity -- those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations -- are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

Regarding euthanasia, in the March 1997 issue of The Atlantic he writes, "As an oncologist I have often personally cared for patients who suffer despite all available treatment. Only the callous and insensitive would deny that in such cases physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia can offer obvious benefits -- can end a life that is worse than death."

Even in his January 2009 Lancet Paper "Principles for the Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions," his completely utilitarian perspective ignores the most fundamental medical ethics of patient autonomy, liberty, and the inherent value of human life.

The latest turn in the Democrat's strategy is to depict opponents as uninformed and reacting to misinformation by Republicans. When Nancy Pelosi referred to the grassroots opposition as "AstroTurf," she was giving the Republicans too much credit for their organizational skills. In the final analysis, Obama's health care bill is just another attempt at socialized medicine. Citizens have real concerns that must be addressed. Liberty and autonomy are essential medical ethics worth defending. With decisions so important to our lives, people shouldn't trust political rhetoric. Read the bill yourself, and talk to your friends and family.

Iowa State Senator David Hartsuch, M.D.

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