Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stand in the Way of a Revolution - And Die! - Health Care Edition

On Forbes magazine's popular quotations page there was once a quote attributed, in jest I'm sure, to an anonymous French management consultant: "That may work perfectly well in practice," it said, "but it will never work in theory." (paraphrasing) U.S. health care works certainly not perfectly, but much better than it would under the revolutionary proposal being rammed through by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA).

Throughout the 20th Century, the success of revolutionary proposals has been hampered by the existence of inconvenient classes of persons. In the Russian Communist Revolution, Ukrainian "kulaks" stood in the way of a glorious modern Moscow. "Fetuses" stood in the way of a Sexual Revolution attempting to dissociate sex from commitment and fecundity.

In the 21st Century, the elderly stand in the way of a revolution in health care. They're just to darn expensive to make health care affordable for "everyone".

In the 20th Century, ideological revolutions mitigated the brake-effects of undesirable classes by giving them euphemistic titles and then killing them. The elderly in the U.S. don't yet have a name I can stick in quotes, but they have a plan for eliminating their brake-effect on the health care revolution - HR 3200, "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009".

OK, that was a little over the top you think? Maybe, but there are enough credible questions about this bill's "end of life" and rationing provisions for the elderly and all Americans to demand Nancy Pelosi give it a fair, open and exhaustive hearing.

Take a look at these:

Wall Street Journal article called "GovernmentCare’s Assault on Seniors" looks at the QALY (quality-adjusted life years) method of denying seniors health care in HR 3200:
The Congressional majority wants to pay for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health bills with new taxes and a $500 billion cut to Medicare. This cut will come just as baby boomers turn 65 and increase Medicare enrollment by 30%. Less money and more patients will necessitate rationing. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 1% of Medicare cuts will come from eliminating fraud, waste and abuse.

The assault against seniors began with the stimulus package in February. Slipped into the bill was substantial funding for comparative effectiveness research, which is generally code for limiting care based on the patient’s age. Economists are familiar with the formula, where the cost of a treatment is divided by the number of years (called QALYs, or quality-adjusted life years) that the patient is likely to benefit. In Britain, the formula leads to denying treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.

When comparative effectiveness research appeared in the stimulus bill, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., (R., La.) a heart surgeon, warned that it would lead to “denying seniors and the disabled lifesaving care.” He and Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) proposed amendments to no avail that would have barred the federal government from using the research to eliminate treatments for the elderly or deny care based on age.

The rationing system isn't even economically beneficial according to the Journal:
The harshest misconception underlying the legislation is that living longer burdens society. Medicare data prove this is untrue. A patient who dies at 67 spends three times as much on health care at the end of life as a patient who lives to 90, according to Dr. Herbert Pardes, CEO of New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

What is costly is when seniors become disabled. In a 2007 Health Affairs article, researchers reported that surgeries to unclog arteries and replace worn out hips and knees have had a major impact on steadily reducing disability rates. And nondisabled seniors use only one-seventh as much health care as disabled seniors. As a result, the annual increase in per capita health spending on the elderly is less than for the rest of the population.

Also see this article going page through 1017 pages of HR 3200 finding multiple examples of rationing, denial of service and coercion in the bill (ht - The Anchoress), excerpts:
PG 425 Lines 4-12 Government mandates Advance Care Planning Consultations. Think Senior Citizens end of life prodding.

Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Government will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney. Mandatory!

PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Government provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in how to die.

PG 427 Lines 15-24 Government mandates program for orders for end of life. The Government has a say in how your life ends.

Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An "advanced care planning consultant" will be used frequently as patients’ health deteriorates.

PG 429 Lines 10-12 "advanced care consultation" may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from the Government to end a life!

Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The Government will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Government will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life.

Finally, when you've read all this, go to American Papist and vote in his poll on whether you support the current form of Obama's health bill. AmP phrases the question right. We need to provide health care for those who can't afford it - that's the teaching of the Church. We don't need the entirely different and counter-productive bill being pushed through Congress right now.