When United States citizens reach the age of 65 they are forced into Medicare and out of any private insurance option for coverage of their healthcare. The government sets the dollar amount doctors, other healthcare providers, and hospitals will be paid for the treatments of a Medicare patient. When a Medicare payment is decided, often the fee is based on which special interest group lobbies the federal government most effectively. No efficacy research for a particular treatment and no market forces enter into this entirely arbitrary decision made in Washington, D.C. Once a fee is established, Medicare pays 80% of the allowable charge. Twenty per cent may be covered by supplemental insurance or patient out of pocket payment. The patient cannot pay his own money for care above and beyond the Medicare allowable–it is against the law.
The elite members of the United States Congress have voted to opt out of the Medicare program. They are the only citizens in the country that can escape the rationing of care that is being done to senior citizens. Senator Ted Kennedy, 77 years old, gets to keep his Rolls Royce healthcare plan while Medicare patients see their access to care sometimes denied and most always delayed by long waits.
The very members of Congress who have passed legislation to curb rising healthcare costs by annual cuts to Medicare spending, have voted themselves out of participation in the increasingly underfunded and dysfunctional government run system.
A brief explanation of what is happening to cause this state of affairs for seniors: If a physician has to pay $75 dollars to see a Medicare patient in the office and Medicare only pays $50 dollars, he goes bankrupt in no time under the increasing rates of malpractice insurance and overhead. This is the reason there is a shortage of primary care physicians. The ones that remain in practice cannot afford to see Medicare patients. This is by design––this is the federal government sacrificing the elderly to cut costs.
And, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
A federal bureaucracy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), have proposed draconian cuts to Medicare. Obama’s plans to finance nationalized healthcare call for $287. 5 billion dollars cuts from Medicare over the course of ten years–$520 million in 2010. Any nationalized plan submitted to Congress by the Democrats will be half financed by the exclusion of the elderly from a variety of healthcare services. For example, heart disease is the number one killer of those ages 65 and over. Medicare payments to doctors for cardiac care, not including expensive heart surgery, will be cut by 20% in 2010. With a population of baby boomers soon to reach 65, the shortage of dollars will be spread more thinly.
Apparently, these cuts are not enough to satisfy Barack Obama. Congress decides annually if Medicare cuts will go through. Obama is attempting to seize Congressional control of Medicare and move it to the Executive Branch and into the hands of unaccountable, unelected officials, stating the move is critical “in controlling health care costs”. What this translates into is that he believes Congress will be too afraid to accept the cuts that will put senior citizens on the road to premature death. Citizens over 65, in the eyes of the Obama and his administration, are just not worth the expense and the problem with social security is solved with the early departure of those who have diligently paid into the system, hoping to enjoy their retirement. No longer will Medicare decisions be based on “safe and effective” treatments for illness.
Pelosi’s United States House of Representatives Healthcare Reform Bill, introduced last week supports Obama’s agenda. The plan is based on the rationing-of-care-to-cut-costs models of Great Britain and Canada. Yes, these countries spend less money on healthcare as Obama likes to point out in speeches. They achieve this by denying care, creating long waits, often too long to save the patient, and limiting diagnostic and potentially life-saving treatments.
Part of the stimulus bill already passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama, called for the establishment of the “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology” with a fifteen member board. One of the main functions of this bureaucracy will be to apply a formula based on the age of the individual and the number of years the patient will benefit from a drug or treatment. If you have a bad denominator because of age, you are out of luck. The decision will be made by a nameless, faceless bureaucrat in Washington, who has no knowledge of your value to society or your contribution to your family or community.
The tax cheat, who withdrew from his nomination to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, wrote in “Critical: What We Can Do About the Healthcare Crisis”, that reform “will not be pain free”. He continues, “Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.” As a former United States Senator, Daschle will be exempt from his own proclamation.
Senator Ted Kennedy is not willing to accept the illness that plagues him in old age, receiving state of the art and possibly new and innovative treatment—care that will be denied your parents and grandparents. Arlen Specter, age seventy-nine, has received the best care in the world for Hodgkin’s Disease, a cancer of lymphatic system, since 2005. What makes the lives of these men more important than other Americans?
And, Obama speaks of equal treatment for all as a rationale for nationalizing healthcare!
Another troubling fact, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is a member of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology board and has been a close advisor to Obama on healthcare. A bioethicist and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, has called for rescinding the Hippocratic Oath which admonishes doctors to do no harm and to do all that is necessary to save the patient. Emmanuel believes that doctors should be oriented to cost factors rather than patient care. How many physicians, who become close to the patient and families they treat, will be willing to practice this cold, cold delivery of healthcare once the Hippocratic Oath is extinguished. The overwhelming majority of physicians have consciences. Obama and the liberals in Congress apparently do not.
The House Bill also sets up a plan for counseling or trying to convince citizens, ages 65 and older, they are a financial burden on family and society. According to Betsy McCaughey, they will be coached in ways to end their lives through such methods as withholding nutrition and terminal care options.
Obama has stated his healthcare plan is revenue neutral. It will rapidly become evident this is another prevarication. What choices will the federal government have at this point? Obama can opt to cut payments that are already below cost or the more likely scenario is he will begin rationing care at a younger age, say 55 or younger, and it still will not be revenue neutral especially when any public plan presented will crowd out the private insurance option. In Germany, a board may have to decide the allocation of healthcare dollars between a 45 year old having a heart attack and a pregnant woman.
To ensure that private insurance will be a thing of the past, Obama plans to tax private health plans to subsidize his public plan. Whatever happened to “if you like your private insurance, you will be able to keep it”? Another disingenuous statement made by Obama!
American citizens, forced to live with what ever limitations on treatment the government imposes, cannot pay more to acquire denied treatment. It will be illegal. Americans, free to spend as much of their resources as they choose keeping the family dog alive, will be forbidden from saving the life of a family member.
Under the Obama nationalized insurance plans the American people, will be forced to pay for coverage of such things as abortion, illegal aliens and their children, mental health and substance abuse over treatment of the elderly. Procedures such as cardiac catheterization, treatment of heart attacks with drug therapy or stents and other life saving procedures will be replaced by ‘palliative care’, care given to make the end of life comfortable. Extreme budget cuts to Medicare are already in the pipeline with Obama poised to control the program, ensuring deeper cuts.
Americans are increasingly regarded as human capital to the elite power structure in Washington, D.C., not useful after retirement from the work force and a cost burden to society. Ready to be put out to pasture when they are no longer productive.
The question is whether or not American citizens will fight back against something so antithetical and perverse to the American value system and to the United States Constitution, which states life is a right not to be controlled by a totalitarian government.
Are you concerned about Obama and Congress deciding who lives and dies in the United States?
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