Friday, June 19, 2009

Private System vs. Government-Run System

Earlier this year, the New York Times Sunday Magazine published a lengthy interview with Obama in which the President gave the American people a small taste of what he envisions for health care reform.

Consider what Obama said:

Obama: "Part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options."

Translation: Government bureaucrats will step in and call the shots. Both you and your doctor will be shut out from determining appropriate treatment.

If that doesn't worry you, the President elaborated further:

"The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill..."

"There is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place."

Just what do you think Obama's talking about here? Trust me, these are scary times if you're chronically ill or over the age of 55.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or multiple sclerosis - or are diagnosed with heart disease or cancer - your future doesn't look very bright based on the President's comments above.

If the feds determine you're costing more than you're worth, well, it's been nice knowing you.

Even Obama's top health advisers have emphasized that America should value the lives of young, healthy people more than those of old, sick individuals.

One such adviser is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama's pit-bull chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel.

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online describes Dr. Emanuel's views:

"He wrote in The Lancet in 2008: 'Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination.' We all were young once, the argument goes, and so denying the elderly and weak in order to care for the young and fit is just."

Does that sound "just" to you?

And, Obama claims that his health plan won't involve rationing or reduced care. But that's ridiculous, because all government-run health systems suffer from those drawbacks.

In fact, government-run health care supporters in Congress have already made a down payment on rationed care.

Specifically, 1.1 billion has already been appropriated as part of the disastrous "stimulus bill" for so-called "comparative effectiveness research."

What is "comparative effectiveness research?"

Congressman David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, explained it in his committee's report:

"...those items, procedures, and interventions... that are found to be less effective and in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed."

What happened to America being a Republic that promises to safeguard the God-given rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

We are the first to admit that America's health care system is not perfect. Costs are out of control; access to care is a real issue for some.

Yes, some reform is needed, but "reform" modeled after state-run European and Canadian models is the wrong approach.

After all, despite its flaws, the current health care system in the United States is second-to-none in the world.

Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian-trained physician who practices in the United States, makes that very point in his book The Cure. Here are just a few examples he cites:

U.S. breast cancer patients are four times as likely to be diagnosed before the tumor has spread... and thus much more likely to survive;
U.S. cancer patients generally have much higher survival rates than their European counterparts;
American heath care dramatically outperforms the "universal care" systems with heart disease and stroke; and,
American researchers in a private enterprise system are responsible for roughly 80% of the world's major medical advances.

Here's how Dr. Gratzer describes his own revelation about Canada's state-run system:

"On [my way to medical school class]... I cut through a hospital emergency room and came upon dozens of people on stretchers - waiting, moaning, begging for treatment. Some elderly patients had waited up to five days in corridors before being admitted to beds. They smelled of urine and sweat. As I navigated past the bodies, I began to question everything I thought I knew about health care - not only in Canada, but also in the United States. ... I had begun a journey into the heart of one of the great policy disasters of modern times."

Painful and interminable waits for care are policy disasters Obama "forgot" to mention.

The time is now to tell Congress that you don't want government bureaucrats making life-and-death decisions for you and your family. The time is now to defeat government-run health care in the United States.


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