Monday, May 25, 2009

Want Good Medical Care? Make Friends with Government Bureaucrats

In March…Georgia, Florida, and Alabama appealed U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash’s ruling that physicians, not government bureaucrats, were qualified — both legally and medically — to decide what was “medically necessary”…regardless of bureaucrats’ opinions…The…states’ argument..was summed up in the amicus brief filed by…Florida, which said, “Treating physicians … cannot be trusted with this sort of decision. When left to their own devices, they advocate for their patients, and deem all manner of unproven, dangerous, ineffective, cosmetic, unnecessary, bizarre, and controversial treatments as ‘medically necessary.’”…The “final arbiter” of medical decisions is and should be “the state,” said attorney Robert Highsmith in March 24 oral arguments — and the panel of the 11th Circuit agreed…Jeff Emanuel, Pajamas Media, 5/22/2009

Shades of things to come! With the framework for federal assessment of medical treatment already established through the Stimulus package, it’s clear that, as the government is planning to pay for your care (with your taxes), the feds are also going to decide whether what your doctor represents is a good buy. The 11th circuit feels that this is a good idea. Even at insurance companies, the final arbiter of whether or not to pay for treatment is a physician, not some secretary or deputy assistant to the assistant….

The groundwork is being laid for dictatorial policies across the board. To this administration, private decision-making, whether in buying a car, or in choosing treatment for heart disease, is too irrational to be left to the concerned parties. This goes in the face of why so many come to the United States for treatment. In France, for instance, you can’t get coronary bypass treatment if you’re over 65. The writer’s mother-in-law had bypass treatment at 71, sixteen years ago, and is still in good health. She would be dead if she’d been a French citizen and lacked the means to fly to New York.

One can’t argue, however, that there is a disproportionate amount of medical resources applied to the last six months of life. The writer’s grandfather, offered heroic treatment for cancer of the pancreas (fatal 99 percent of the time), refused anything but pain relief. He was 90 and felt he had lived a good life. He let nature take its brutal course. A surprisingly large number of people do this. There is a good reason not to offer a heart transplant to someone in her late seventies if the same heart could extend the life and health of someone thirty years younger. However, it is demonstrable, from the Amsterdam experience, that as soon as the government steps in on such issues, allowing patients to either not be treated, or even killed by their physicians, that we are racing down the road to government-sponsored, expedient murder. A terrifying example occurred in 2005 during a hot summer in northern France. While their children vacationed on the Mediterranean, and while the government did nothing, 100,000 old people died of heat-related causes in government-owned nursing homes that lacked air conditioning. Relatives notified of what was happening did very little to stop this, refusing to even collect the bodies until the surivors came north after their vacations. One wonders how many of the dead had been in the Resistance, and what they thought, as they died, of the country they had helped to save.

Contempt for individual choices is rich in this administration. They know better, about cars, about health care, about banks, about home owning, about energy use. Trouble is, while this may work in the short term – Hitler did build some nice highways, still in use, ultimately it creates a populace whose energies are diverted into little more than watching and waiting. This apparently is the change that the current administration feels is such an adult departure from a free society. God may help us, but we’d better get moving. A tea party is not a political party; a demonstration is not a campaign for office or a lawsuit. Action is required.


No comments: