Archive for August 20th, 2009

Death Panels? You Betcha!

By Jerry A. Kane


Brother O and the Democrat Party’s media propagandists and Internet lackeys are promoting disinformation and parroting half-truths concerning the Obamacare “death panel”—an oversight board of bureaucrats that determines the value of a person’s continued existence and whether treatment will be cost-effective. Brother O and the New York Times accuse Republicans and conservatives of spreading “false rumors;” and AP Fact Check, Politifact.org and FactCheck.org reject “death panel” claims as “twisted,” “ridiculous,” “lies.”


Obfuscation is a hallmark of Democrat disinformation; therefore, when Brother O and his kindred spirits in the mainstream media and on the Internet insist with dogmatic certainty that the health care bill passed by the House does not include a literal provision to establish a “death panel,” they know they’re right; however, they’re right only in the limited sense of the health care bill itself. 


If the “death panel” specter were raised above the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a.k.a., the Stimulus Bill, which was signed into law February 17, their dogmatic assertions would disappear. In other words, the panel of overseers does not appear in the healthcare bill because it was created in that monstrous $1.1 billion, portentous piece of porkulus spending that lawmakers passed without reading,


Had America’s lawmakers demanded the time necessary to read the Stimulus Bill, they could have uncovered the slipped-in healthcare provisions and the appropriations for the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, known by the Sarah Palin catchphrase “death panel.”


The Council is the handiwork of Tom Daschle, who had been Brother O’s first choice to head the Health and Human Services Department. Daschle’s Council, which is modeled after a board in the United Kingdom and discussed in his book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis, would make the “tough” decisions regarding medical treatments and monitor doctors to make sure they are following government dictates for appropriate and cost-effective treatments.  Doctors who are not “meaningful users” of Obamacare would be penalized. What defines a “meaningful user” is left to the private interpretation of the Health and Human Services secretary.


According to Daschle’s book, the Council’s goal is to reduce healthcare costs by slowing the advancement in medical technologies and the development of pharmaceuticals.  Daschle lauds European systems for their willingness to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments.”


Daschle’s Council would approve or reject treatments based on a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is expected to benefit. Treatments for younger patients would be approved more often than those for the elderly; consequently, Daschle advises the elderly to be more like the Europeans who passively accept their conditions and don’t treat them.


Daschle’s prescient comment that Brother O’s health-care reform “will not be pain free” also serves as a dire warning regarding the medical ethics of the members appointed to the Council.  One prominent member of the Council is Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Special Advisor on Health Policy to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and brother of Raum Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff.


To suggest that Dr. Emanuel’s views on withholding healthcare from the elderly and disabled are alarming is an understatement.  In a 1996 journal article, Emanuel explores whether medical services should be guaranteed to all Americans and provides an example of an approach that favors active people and “not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”


In a January 2009 article, Emanuel looks at who should receive organs or vaccines and suggests that age could be considered as one of the factors. He writes, “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination. Every person lives through different life stages.”


The vague language used to outline the healthcare provisions in the Stimulus Bill gives the Council the power to implement Emanuel’s “Complete Lives System” principles to reduce healthcare costs by simply refusing to pay for the services. Palin’s “death panel” catchphrase is a dead-on accurate description of Daschle’s monstrous creation. She was also right to label any system as evil that bases its medical decisions on the perceived societal worth of the person. 


Without question, Brother O wants appointed bureaucrats to decide who does and does not get medical care. In legislation currently before Congress, he proposes an Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) that would have the power to deny care to the elderly and disabled based on the decisions of five bureaucrats appointed by the Executive Branch.  


At the end of June, ABC ran Brother O’s healthcare infomercial, and a member of the audience asked him whether end-of-life decisions would be made by the quality of the patient’s life or by some arbitrary medical cut-off.  Brother O responded:


“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit. That would be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules…”


Based on the existence of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research and the proposed creation of the Independent Medicare Advisory Council, it is obvious Brother O intends to appoint ruling bureaucrats to guide subjective decisions. 


Palin entered the healthcare fracas once she realized what was about to happen to personal freedom in matters involving life and death decisions. She felt obligated by her oath to the Constitution and compelled by her humanity to sound the alarm so Americans would know what was happening.  And for her warning, Americans who love liberty and cherish freedom owe her a debt of thanks. 


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