Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NY Post carries scary op-ed on "communitarian" ideas for Medicare (E. Emmanuel quotes); Germany in the 1930s?


Betsy McCaughey has a scary story “Deadly Doctors: O Advisers Want to Ration Care” in the July 24, 2009 New York Post, discussing the inevitable rationing of health care under Obama’s plans, and with particular emphasis on triage for the care seniors get under Medicare.

The link is here.

The article quotes Ezekiel Emmanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. The article refers to a 2008 article in the professional periodical Health Affairs on “lipstick” savings that I could not find.

It then says that E. Emmanuel wants “communitarianism” to determine who gets certain advanced health care, especially for seniors. But what this sounds like is “utilitarianism”, born of hyper-individualism but curiously some of the statements sound like they might have been heard in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Ezekiel wants to reduce access to “technology” for some populations.

Some of the language in this article is so strong that I would rather not quote it here.

Of course, one could connect this all to discussions about “filial responsibility” or family cohesion. That may come next.

The president denied all this talk in his Saturday morning webcast, and again today (Tuesday Aug 11) at a town hall.

Update: Aug. 14, 2009

Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes have a story in the Aug. 13, 2009 New York Times, "False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots", link here.

Update: Aug. 19, 2009

The Washington Times has an editorial on p A19, "Medical rationing: 'Death panels' already exist: Obamacare would hasten a process under way at state level", by Robert W. Painter, link here. The editorial compares the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 with a Texas Advance Directives Act of 1999, where medical authorities have a final say in cases of "medical futility".

Update: Aug. 22, 2009

The Washington Post today has an editorial "The 'Dr. Death' Distortion: GOP scaremongers would rather malign an Obama adviser than honestly debate health reform", link here. The editorial points out that Sarah Palin "cherry picked" Dr. Emmanuel's remarks and misrepresented his views, which now suggest that there should be enough efficiency gains in health care reform to ease the issue of end-of-life and high-risk care. But it's unavoidable that difficult decisions about care will sometimes come down to family emotional solidarity, and sometimes even a willingness to sacrifice.

Update: Sept. 16, 2009

Newsweek has an op-ed by Evan Thomas "Rethinking end-of-life care" (the rest of the print title is a bit offensive) link here.

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