OBAMA HEALTH CARE
BY WAnda Franz, Ph.D.
Under the new health care
law, it is not just the unborn who are threatened by the cold hand
of government. Now it is also we, the already living, who are in
danger, because the inevitable result of the new health care law
will be the rationing of medical care. And rationed care leads to
involuntary euthanasia of the elderly and of those whose “quality of
life” is considered too poor for modern medical care.
The problem is, of course,
that the new health care law “over-promises and under-funds.” And
when the government rations health care—by making it illegal or
impossible to choose lifesaving treatment and nutrition—it imposes a
form of involuntary euthanasia.
In the minds of anti-life
“progressives,” giving equally shabby and life-denying care to
everyone who is under the government’s thumb is the “fair” and
“equitable” thing to do. Apparently, our “progressive” friends have
missed the numerous accounts in the British press (see the Drudge
Report web site) about the horrible treatment of elderly patients in
Britain’s government-controlled National Health Service. These are
not examples of “fair” treatment—they are examples of callous
neglect and often deadly mistreatment of elderly patients.
The public’s persistent
opposition to the new health care law rests in large part on an
intuitive understanding that governmental overreach inevitably has
very bad consequences. In this case, the clumsy and wasteful
governmental bureaucracy will impose itself even more than it
already does on our medical care. As I already said: the new health
care law over-promises and under-funds.
Even worse, the law directs
the so-called “Independent Payment Advisory Board” to propose
measures designed to force private health care spending (what you
and I are allowed to choose to spend to save the lives of our own
family members) below the rate of medical inflation. Bureaucrats in
the federal Health and Human Services department are empowered to
implement these recommendations by imposing so-called “quality
standards” on all health care providers if they want to participate
in any qualified health insurance plans—even nongovernmental ones.
Thus, the government will tell the health profession what diagnostic
tests and medical care are permitted—and what are not.
Throughout the debate on
health care legislation, the anti-life congressional leaders were
repeatedly forced to disguise and camouflage abortion and rationing
provisions in the law through confusing and contorted language. But
of course, even if this or that particular detail in the law is
changed, a government-controlled health care system inevitably ends
up rationing care because it is limited by general fund tax
revenues. And when we surrender our responsibility to make our own
health decisions to an inefficient bureaucracy, rationing will
ultimately be imposed on us.
During last year’s spirited
debate on health care, several Catholic bishops expressed their
concerns about the government’s excessive control of the proposed
health care system. They objected to the scheme because it violates
the “principle of subsidiarity.” The principle holds that the state
should respect the dignity and freedom of the individual so that
individuals can do what they can do for themselves. Next in line is
the family, then the close community, then the larger local
community, and only then the state.
Pope Benedict XVI observed
that “the State which would provide for everything, absorbing
everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy
incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering
person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.” He also
said, ”We do not need a State which regulates and controls
To most of us it is obvious
that a ponderous bureaucracy will misallocate resources that
otherwise we could have used for our health care. And when resources
are wasted and the law constrains us from using our own money to pay
for our care, rationing is inevitable. An all-controlling government
will ration in the end because “pretty soon they will run out of
other people’s money,” as one British politician once observed.
The principle of
subsidiarity was formally announced in 1931 during a great economic
crisis and a time of increasing threats from totalitarian and
authoritarian states. The general principle, however, goes back to
the social teaching of the Christian Church since the fifth Century.
To us Americans, the core
teachings the principle of subsidiarity appear as American as apple
pie. Personal freedom and responsibility, the freedom of families
and local communities to run their lives are at the very core of the
American idea. This is how we are meant to run our lives.
To learn more about the
threat of euthanasia, I urge you to get more information by visiting
the website of NRLC’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics
(http://www.nrlc.org/medethics/index.html). Robert Powell had a
cancerous lung tumor as a baby. Intensive radiation treatment saved
his life, but the tumor had invaded his spinal cord and left him a
paraplegic for the rest of his life. Robert grew up heroically
battling his disability. He attended college, became an insurance
mathematician—and an ardent pro-lifer. For many years he served as
NRLC’s vice president, until his death at age 45 in 1995.
Some physicians who had seen
Powell felt he would be better off dead. He was denied treatment
several times. Powell recounted a trauma room visit as follows:
had a fever, a swollen belly and (other problems). Their suggestion
was to take two Tylenol and go home. My physician refused to come to
the emergency room to see me. Because of the persistence of my
sister, who is a registered nurse, and other pro-life family members
who were on hand, I was admitted to the hospital. At 11:00 p.m. they
were drawing fluid off my lungs just to allow me to breathe. The
treatment I received in the trauma center was not the treatment a
nondisabled person would have received. Because of the
aggressiveness of my family, I received the appropriate care.”
Now look at this very recent
headline from the British Telegraph (8/18/2010): “US breast cancer
drug decision ‘marks start of death panels.’” It looks like
rationing is about to become the general health care policy.
Work hard, work hard for the
repeal of the new health care law.