It isn’t being called rationing since the president repeatedly pledged that would never happen under Obamacare but, pledge as they might, the Obamians are already busily engaged in restricting Americans’ access to medical testing and treatment, aka rationing.
And, don’t dare even whisper the term “death panels.” Sarah Palin and others were widely ridiculed by the administration for suggesting their existence since, we were promised, Obamacare would never incorporate such a ghastly feature. Instead, they’re called ”ethics panels.”
Years before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, measures are being taken nationwide to cut costs and limit access to medical procedures which for decades were considered prudent and necessary for diagnosis and treatment of potentially life-threatening illnesses and diseases.
It’s the old trick of boiling a frog adapted to medicine.
Those interested in boiling frogs know you should never throw the little amphibians into pots of boiling water since they tend to jump out and spoil the fun. Likewise, politicians know they can’t literally throw grannie under a bus, pull the plug on gramp’s respirator, or assign a cancer patient to a death panel since grannie, gramps, and the cancer patient are liable to kick them where it hurts.
You have to boil them gradually and use euphemisms as you do it.
Rationing began in earnest earlier this year when the FDA withdrew approval of Genentech’s highly-effective but expensive breast cancer drug Avastin on the basis that it had ”a marginal effect on tumor growth in breast cancer and in light of Avastin’s severe side effects, the risks outweigh the limited benefit.” (http://bit.ly/w1cyIj)
The FDA didn’t directly address that opinion to the thousands of women whose lives have been extended by that “limited benefit” and who scoff at the alleged side effects and risks.
Life, for frogs and human beings, supersedes both the pleasures of boiling water and side effects despite cost savings.
As for mammograms, women only think they should get them annually but that’s another misconception according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, USPTF, which seems to have been assembled by the Department of Health and Human Services less for the purpose of preventing than for rationing.
The task force of 16 “independent experts” concluded in November, 2009 that it makes no sense for women to either perform breast self-exams or get routine mammograms before reaching the age of 50. Possibly saving your life is purposeless, and it costs money.
After the flak hit the fan and women adopted the frog approach to boiling water, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebellius backtracked and insisted the “experts” were merely recommending, not establishing policy or determining coverage–and Republicans were absolute cads for suggesting otherwise. (http://tiny.cc/ubqz9)
Chalk one up for the women-folk.
Again only recommending, in October, 2011, the same task force reported that “Prostate-specific antigen–based screening results in small or no reduction in prostate cancer–specific mortality” despite findings by true independent studies showing such screenings reduce death rates by up to 90%.
Following that money-saving recommendation, the nation’s largest urology group jumped all over the USPTF saying, “Because of early detection efforts, the death rate from prostate cancer has decreased 38% (from almost 40 per 100,000 men in 1992 to fewer than 25 per 100,000 in 2007).”
Don’t confuse us with facts, retorted major health insurers and government cohorts in crime, Aetna and Kaiser Permanente. Both companies quickly issued statements indicating they are re-considering payments for the test based on the USPTF’s announcement, umm, recommendation. (http://tiny.cc/ygfn1)
Chalk one up for rationing.
Cynics must wonder whether anyone at HHS or USPTF has endured the agonies of breast or prostate cancer.
Finally, one unidentified brain surgeon contended he had reviewed Obamacare’s plan for advanced neurosurgical care for patients over 70 and that it effectively consigned elders to funeral homes.
According to the surgeon, a very credible caller on Mark Levin’s radio show, the “disturbing” as yet unpublished scheme as spelled out by HHS included those euphemistic “ethics panels.” HHS has advised doctors that a patient over 70 on government supported healthcare who visited an emergency room would be given “comfort care,” palliative care, not treatment.
Almost as shocking but entirely explicable from the point of view of HHS bureaucrats, patients aren’t referred to as patients anymore. They’re called “units” and rather than doctors determining the proper course for their care, “ethics panels” or “ethics committees” consisting not of physicians but hospital administrators will make that call.
Before treating a “unit,” doctors are expected to wait until pencil-pushing hospital administrators “meet and decide where the money would go for hospitals, and basically for patients [units] over 70 years of age, that advanced neurosurgical care was not generally indicated,” medical-speak for not treated.
(Hear the complete 4 1/2 minute Levin audio clip here: http://tiny.cc/bamb8.)
Were one anonymous surgeon’s sorry tale the sole evidence that rationing and death panels are not only planned but well under way for Americans, he could be dismissed as a cranky malcontent. Factor in banning Avastin and the USPTF’s efforts to restrict mammograms and prostate cancer screenings and only the federal government could still say Obamacare doesn’t ration medical care and isn’t establishing death panels.
Then, again, federal employees including President Barack Hussein Obama who conceived of Obamacare, the Congress which passed it, and the bureaucrats who implement it aren’t victims of Obamacare. They all are insured under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
Come on now! Advocates of socialized medicine may be sinister but they’re not stupid! If they were frogs, they’d be the first to leap out of the boiling Obamacare pot, if they had to.