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Let the Fire Rain Down. Palin Presses the Advantage.

August 14, 2009

The Governor shows how to take advantage of an enemy in retreat.  It’s known in the world of knight warfare as finding the weakness in your opponent’s armor and hitting it again and again until the threat is gone, or in chivalric terms, until your opponent raises his gloved hand after having been put flat on his back.  Only here, sensing the disarray of the Democrats, she presses on with suggestions for real healthcare reform, consistent with our American free market and our fierce desire for control over our medical decisions. 

In her latest Facebook entry, the Governor does not relent.  She argues that the Complete Lives theory espoused by Dr. Emanuel as recently at January 2009 is not consistent with the Dr.’s claim that his thinking has evolved from one of rationed care to non-rationed care.  She also presses the President to completely disavow this theory of medical ethics.  She applauds the Senate for dropping the end of life consultations requirement and calls now for an end to any approach the ends in rationed care.  Read on, for this Knight can add nothing to her war cry:

Troubling Questions Remain About Obama’s Health Care Plan

 Yesterday at 10:11pm

I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200). It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones.

As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time. The rationing system proposed by one of President Obama’s key health care advisors is particularly disturbing. I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential. [1] Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak. [2] How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.

The president is busy assuring us that we can keep our private insurance plans, but common sense (and basic economics) tells us otherwise. The public option in the Democratic health care plan will crowd out private insurers, and that’s what it’s intended to do. A single payer health care plan has been President Obama’s agenda all along, though he is now claiming otherwise. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said back in 2003:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan…. A single payer health care plan – universal health care plan – that’s what I would like to see.” [3]

A single-payer health care plan might be what Obama would like to see, but is it what the rest of us would like to see? What does a single payer health care plan look like? We need look no further than other countries who have adopted such a plan. The picture isn’t pretty. [4] The only way they can control costs is to ration care. As I noted in my earlier statement quoting Thomas Sowell, government run health care won’t reduce the price of medical care; it will simply refuse to pay the price. The expensive innovative procedures that people from all over the world come to the United States for will not be available under a government plan that seeks to cover everyone by capping costs.

Our senior citizens are right to be wary of this health care bill. Medical care at the end of life accounts for 80 percent of all health care. When care is rationed, that is naturally where the cuts will be felt first. The “end-of-life” consultations authorized in Section 1233 of HR 3200 were an obvious and heavy handed attempt at pressuring people to reduce the financial burden on the system by minimizing their own care. Worst still, it actually provided a financial incentive to doctors to initiate these consultations. People are right to point out that such a provision doesn’t sound “purely voluntary.”

In an article I noted yesterday, Charles Lane wrote:

“Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life’s end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it’s good to have a doctor’s perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party — the government — recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don’t have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.” [5]

I agree. Last year, I issued a proclamation for “Healthcare Decisions Day.” [6] The proclamation sought to increase the public’s knowledge about creating living wills and establishing powers of attorney. There was no incentive to choose one option over another. There was certainly no financial incentive for physicians to push anything. In fact, the proclamation explicitly called on medical professionals and lawyers “to volunteer their time and efforts” to provide information to the public.

Comparing the “Healthcare Decisions Day” proclamation to Section 1233 of HR 3200 is ridiculous. The two are like apples and oranges. The attempt to link the two shows how desperate the proponents of nationalized health care are to shift the debate away from the disturbing details of their bill.

There is one aspect of this bill which I have not addressed yet, but it’s a very obvious one. It’s the simple fact that we can’t afford it. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of Doug Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. He told the Senate Budget Committee last month:

“In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.” [7]

Dr. Elmendorf went on to note that this health care legislation would increase spending at an unsustainable rate.

Our nation is already $11.5 trillion in debt. Where will the money come from? Taxes, of course. And will a burdensome new tax help our economy recover? Of course not. The best way to encourage more health care coverage is to foster a strong economy where people can afford to purchase their own coverage if they choose to do so. The current administration’s economic policies have done nothing to help in this regard.

Health care is without a doubt a complex and contentious issue, but health care reform should be a market oriented solution. There are many ways we can reform the system and lower costs without nationalizing it.

The economist Arthur Laffer has taken the lead in pushing for a patient-center health care reform policy. He noted in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this month:

“A patient-centered health-care reform begins with individual ownership of insurance policies and leverages Health Savings Accounts, a low-premium, high-deductible alternative to traditional insurance that includes a tax-advantaged savings account. It allows people to purchase insurance policies across state lines and reduces the number of mandated benefits insurers are required to cover. It reallocates the majority of Medicaid spending into a simple voucher for low-income individuals to purchase their own insurance. And it reduces the cost of medical procedures by reforming tort liability laws.” [8]

Those are real reforms that we can live with and afford. Once again, I warn my fellow Americans that if we go down the path of nationalized health care, there will be no turning back. We must stop and think or we may find ourselves losing even more of our freedoms.

[1] See http://www.scribd.com/doc/18280675/Principles-for-Allocation-of-Scarce-Medical-Interventions
[2] See http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/14/white-house-adviser-backs-off-rationing/
[3]See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hsqzSKuC44
[4] See http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=N2M0ODk0OTNkZjkwNGM4OGMyYTEwYWY3ODUzMzFiOTc=
[5] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703043.html
[6] See http://www.gov.state.ak.us/archive.php?id=1094&type=6
[7] See http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/07/cbo-sees-no-federal-cost-savings-in-dem-health-plans.html
[8] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574324361508092006.html

– Sarah Palin

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 8:05 pm

    So much debate is going on pointing out how bad the collectivist approach of the Obama/Democrats will be for our health care, but where is the advocacy of a workable solution?

    Here is a brief outline of where we need to go with US health care:

    The Modern Health Care Solution

    We need to reset our health care system back to a free-market, patient-driven system. Every other successful part of our society runs this way- why not our health care for goodness sake?! We need:

    1. Market-based pricing of health care. We need medical Care/Service/Procedures priced up front like everything else in our society- not the price/cost black-boxes of today’s employer and government-subsidized health care.

    2. Minute-clinics and similar no-appointment, transparently-priced clinics are going in the right direction of delivering this concept:
    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2006/01/23_zdechlikm_coninfo/

    3. Just like with the fair, portability of pre-tax 401k’s, we need fair, portable pre-tax health savings accounts for everyone to save their own money over time, make their own decisions on health care, and pay it with their own money.

    4. Make health care ‘insurance’ back into actual insurance. Couple health savings accounts with high-deductible catastrophic health insurance policies that people buy like they do for life insurance or car insurance.

    The above approach gives everyone the access, proper control, and choice over their health- not the opposite helplessness dictated by some far away, faceless bureaucrat.

    • August 14, 2009 8:39 pm

      Philosopher, these are ideas most Americans can understand and appreciate. On point 4, taking that path, what about for people as they get older? Life insurance for instance gets alot more expensive the older you get. Healthcare costs are generally higher as we get older so I think normal insurance pricing would require higher premiums and whatever is out there now in terms of health insurance for older people probably does do that. Would you advocate repealing medicare and medicaid?

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