I Am Finally Scared of a White House Administration

Article excerpt

I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoove's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health-care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) - as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill - decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It's already in the stimulus bill signed into law.

The members of that ultimate federal board will themselves not have examined or seen the patient in question. For another example of the growing, tumultuous resistance to "Dr. Obama," particularly among seniors, there is a July 29 Washington Times editorial citing a line from a report written by a key adviser to Obama on cost-efficient health care, prominent bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel).

Emanuel writes about rationing health care for older Americans that "allocation (of medical care) by age is not invidious discrimination" (the Lancet, January 2009). He calls this form of rationing - which is fundamental to Obamacare goals - "the complete Uves system." You see, at 65 or older, you've had more life years than a 25-year-old. As such, the latter can be more deserving of cost-efficient health care than older folks.

No matter what Congress does when it returns from its recess, rationing is a basic part of Obama's eventual master health-care plan. Here is what Obama said in an April 28 New York Times interview (quoted in a Washington Times July 9 editorial) in which he describes a government end-of-life services guide for the citizenry as we get to a certain age, or are in a certain grave condition. Our government will undertake, he says, a "very difficult democratic conversation" about how "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care" costs.

This end-of-life consultation has been stripped from the Senate Finance Committee bill because of democracy-in-action town-hall outcries but remains in three House bills.

A specific end-of-life proposal is in draft Section 1233 of H.R. 3200, a House Democratic health-care bill that is echoed in two others that also call for versions of "advance care planning consultation" every five years - or sooner if the patient is diagnosed with a progressive or terminal illness.

As the Washington Post's Charles Lane penetratingly explains ("Undue influence,"Aug. 8): The government would pay doctors to discuss with Medicare patients explanations of "living wills and durable powers of attorney . . . and (provide) a list of national and state-specific resources to assist consumers and their families" on making advance-care planning (read end-of-life) decisions.

Significantly, Lane adds that, "The doctor 'shall' (that's an order) explain that Medicare pays for hospice care (hint, hint). …