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another right wing lunatic prattling on about "death panels"


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I am finally scared of a White House administration

 

By Nat Hentoff

 

 

I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It's already in the stimulus bill signed into law.

 

 

The members of that ultimate federal board will themselves not have examined or seen the patient in question. For another example of the growing, tumultuous resistance to "Dr. Obama," particularly among seniors, there is a July 29 Washington Times editorial citing a line from a report written by a key adviser to Obama on cost-efficient health care, prominent bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel).

 

 

Emanuel writes about rationing health care for older Americans that "allocation (of medical care) by age is not invidious discrimination." (The Lancet, January 2009) He calls this form of rationing — which is fundamental to Obamacare goals — "the complete lives system." You see, at 65 or older, you've had more life years than a 25-year-old. As such, the latter can be more deserving of cost-efficient health care than older folks.

 

 

No matter what Congress does when it returns from its recess, rationing is a basic part of Obama's eventual master health care plan. Here is what Obama said in an April 28 New York Times interview (quoted in Washington Times July 9 editorial) in which he describes a government end-of-life services guide for the citizenry as we get to a certain age, or are in a certain grave condition. Our government will undertake, he says, a "very difficult democratic conversation" about how "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care" costs.

 

 

This end-of-life consultation has been stripped from the Senate Finance Committee bill because of democracy-in-action town-hall outcries but remains in three House bills.

 

 

A specific end-of-life proposal is in draft Section 1233 of H.R. 3200, a House Democratic health care bill that is echoed in two others that also call for versions of "advance care planning consultation" every five years — or sooner if the patient is diagnosed with a progressive or terminal illness.

 

 

As the Washington Post's Charles Lane penetratingly explains (Undue influence," Aug. 8): the government would pay doctors to discuss with Medicare patients explanations of "living wills and durable powers of attorney … and (provide) a list of national and state-specific resources to assist consumers and their families" on making advance-care planning (read end-of-life) decisions.

 

 

Significantly, Lane adds that, "The doctor 'shall' (that's an order) explain that Medicare pays for hospice care (hint, hint)."

 

 

But the Obama administration claims these fateful consultations are "purely voluntary." In response, Lane — who learned a lot about reading between the lines while the Washington Post's Supreme Court reporter — advises us:

 

 

"To me, 'purely voluntary' means 'not unless the patient requests one.'"

 

 

But Obamas' doctors will initiate these chats. "Patients," notes Lane, "may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority."

 

 

And who will these doctors be? What criteria will such Obama advisers as Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel set for conductors of end-of-life services?

 

 

I was alerted to Lanes' crucial cautionary advice — for those of use who may be influenced to attend the Obamacare twilight consultations — by Wesley J. Smith, a continually invaluable reporter and analyst of, as he calls his most recent book, the "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America" (Encounter Books).

 

 

As more Americans became increasingly troubled by this and other fearful elements of Dr. Obama's cost-efficient health care regimen, Smith adds this vital advice, no matter what legislation Obama finally signs into law:

 

 

"Remember that legislation itself is only half the problem with Obamacare. Whatever bill passes, hundreds of bureaucrats in the federal agencies will have years to promulgate scores of regulations to govern the details of the law.

 

 

"This is where the real mischief could be done because most regulatory actions are effectuated beneath the public radar. It is thus essential, as just one example, that any end-of-life counseling provision in the final bill be specified to be purely voluntary … and that the counseling be required by law to be neutral as to outcome. Otherwise, even if the legislation doesn't push in a specific direction — for instance, THE GOVERNMENT REFUSING TREATMENT — the regulations could." (Emphasis added.)

 

 

Who'll let us know what's really being decided about our lives — and what is set into law? To begin with, Charles Lane, Wesley Smith and others whom I'll cite and add to as this chilling climax of the Obama presidency comes closer.

 

 

Condemning the furor at town-hall meetings around the country as "un-American," Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are blind to truly participatory democracy — as many individual Americans believe they are fighting, quite literally, for their lives.

 

I wonder whether Obama would be so willing to promote such health care initiatives if, say, it were 60 years from now, when his children will — as some of the current bills seem to imply — have lived their fill of life years, and the health care resources will then be going to the younger Americans?

 

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance".

 

for the record, nat hentoff is a renowned civil libertarian, atheist new york jew, who was a columnist for decades at "the village voice". he is also probably the greatest jazz critic who has ever lived, but that's not terribly relevant here.

 

personally, I dunno, I have mixed thoughts about all this. to the extent the government is involved in providing health care, of course they are going to have to look at questions like whether a 65 year old would get the same utility out of a really expensive treatment as a 25 year old. but, like hentoff and sarah palin, I guess, I recognize that there is something sinister and dystopian about "cutting costs" in this fashion. it's a tricky issue. I don't blame people (or consider them "death merchants") for bringing it up, but I can't really blame people for speaking out loudly in oppoisition, either.

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for the record, nat hentoff is a renowned civil libertarian, atheist new york jew, who was a columnist for decades at "the village voice". he is also probably the greatest jazz critic who has ever lived, but that's not terribly relevant here.

 

personally, I dunno, I have mixed thoughts about all this. to the extent the government is involved in providing health care, of course they are going to have to look at questions like whether a 65 year old would get the same utility out of a really expensive treatment as a 25 year old. but, like hentoff and sarah palin, I guess, I recognize that there is something sinister and dystopian about "cutting costs" in this fashion. it's a tricky issue. I don't blame people (or consider them "death merchants") for bringing it up, but I can't really blame people for speaking out loudly in oppoisition, either.

This whole thing has gone beyond lunatic. This level of paranoia makes me just want to give up any remaining shred of faith in the intelligence of homo sapiens. If people really want to believe this crap, then let them share a web site with the "Bush did 9/11" and "Elvis was really an alien" crowd.

 

F'n idiots.

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This whole thing has gone beyond lunatic. This level of paranoia makes me just want to give up any remaining shred of faith in the intelligence of homo sapiens. If people really want to believe this crap, then let them share a web site with the "Bush did 9/11" and "Elvis was really an alien" crowd.

 

F'n idiots.

 

You might believe people suspicious and paranoid, but lunatic? You think just because this is America that our government is immune to these types of things? Anyone who believes that needs to remember the bonus army prior to WWII, Kent State, and Athens, TN.

 

On the lighter side, has anyone seen the movie "Children of Men"? What was the name of the gov't-sponsored suicide pill? :wacko:

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On the one hand we have insurance companies trying to make a profit. On the other we have government that is trying *give* health care away to people without it. So tell me this: which one is more likely to withhold care based purely on a "dystopian" cost-benefit analysis? Honestly.

 

Is there some magical a third option, where everyone gets every medical procedure possible because we can't trust anyone to make the tough decisions, but somehow the extra cost doesn't wind up getting passed on to taxpayers and/or other policy holders?

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So tell me this: which one is more likely to withhold care based purely on a "dystopian" cost-benefit analysis? Honestly.

insurance companies do it all the time. I can remember at least 4 occasion were i had to spend hours on the phone to convince a bean counter that my son needed the surgeries recommended by his 7 or so doctors. Oh and they once sent me a letter saying they were going to drop him from coverage because he was at this lifetime maximum, 3 million . See , they where hopping we would just have him go on the state medical plan ..... HMO non profit my arse.

I f my wife had not been in the medical filed and new the loop holes i am sure my son would not have gotten the care he needed. I am sure there are many kids who don't because their parent don't know how or don't have the ability to play the HMO games...

:wacko:

just hope nun of u ever have to wade into the quagmire of HMO insurance let alone state or federal medical coverage.

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to the extent the government is involved in providing health care, of course they are going to have to look at questions like whether a 65 year old would get the same utility out of a really expensive treatment as a 25 year old. but, like hentoff and sarah palin, I guess, I recognize that there is something sinister and dystopian about "cutting costs" in this fashion. it's a tricky issue. I don't blame people (or consider them "death merchants") for bringing it up, but I can't really blame people for speaking out loudly in oppoisition, either.

 

My main problem is that the people who seem "concerned" about gov't having to take over this function don't seem to give two craps that private industry is ALREADY DOING EXACTLY THAT.

 

Do you want the person deciding whether or not to pull the plug on you to be some pencil-pushing gov't bureaucrat, or some pencil-pushing mid-level manager whose quarterly bonus just might depend on cutting costs such as those your illness will incur?

 

Obama's problem is he's trying to compromise and do it halfway instead of coming up with something resembling a real, coherent, definitive plan. Even IF it passes, it'll be a half-assed band-aid, another sterling triumph of the Obama administration.

 

:wacko: Belgium sounds nice these days.

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My main problem is that the people who seem "concerned" about gov't having to take over this function don't seem to give two craps that private industry is ALREADY DOING EXACTLY THAT.

 

No, they realize that if their insurance company isn't providing the services they want, they are free to buy their insurance from another provider. Those pushing for health care reform fail to realize that 85% are happy with their own insurance plans. Look at the 45.6 Million that census bureau estimates (using questionable assumptions) that supposedly don't have health care. 25% of them qualify for medicare or medicaid. 22% are not US citizens (over half this number are illegal aliens). 43% have an income greater than $55,000 (slightly more than 1/3 make more than $66,000. So only about 10% of the uninsured are citizens of the US who want insurance, but can not get it, or already qualify for government assistance. That is 4.7 Million in a country with a population of 304 Million, or 1.5% of the population. 60% of the uninsured are under 35, and 86% of the uninsured consider themselves to be in goo health. Only 30% of the uninsured or roughly 4.5% of the population is uninsured for more than a year. So, who is blowing things out of proportion? Who is making up the crisis?

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No, they realize that if their insurance company isn't providing the services they want, they are free to buy their insurance from another provider.

 

Who is making up the crisis?

 

 

Perch, you CANNOT be serious. In a predominantly employer based system, the vast majority of Americans CANNOT afford to buy insurance from another provider unless their employer picks up a significant portion of the premium. They have no choice, they have no vote. It is at the discretion of the employer as to what is most cost efficient/ what they choose to provide.

 

I expect more from a small business owner . . .

 

Who is making up the crisis? Maybe the people calling Obama a nazi at rallies and people using phrases like "death camps". It is easy to come up wioth a snappy soundbite like that as opposed to trying to actually reofrm a crappy system.

 

Stay classy RWNJ . . . .

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Perch, you CANNOT be serious. In a predominantly employer based system, the vast majority of Americans CANNOT afford to buy insurance from another provider unless their employer picks up a significant portion of the premium. They have no choice, they have no vote. It is at the discretion of the employer as to what is most cost efficient/ what they choose to provide.

 

I expect more from a small business owner . . .

 

Who is making up the crisis? Maybe the people calling Obama a nazi at rallies and people using phrases like "death camps". It is easy to come up wioth a snappy soundbite like that as opposed to trying to actually reofrm a crappy system.

 

Stay classy RWNJ . . . .

 

I know that while we offer coverage to all our employees, we have three employees that have opted out of the insurance we provide. In each of the three cases, we increased their salary by the amount we pay in insurance for each employee. If coverage cost increase, then those three employees get a raise by how ever much insurance rises on top of whatever other raise they might receive that year. Under the currently proposed plan we would not be able to do that, or the amount we would be willing/able to provide would be significantly less because of the 8% additional tax we would be paying on their payroll. So instead of increasing options like dems claim (which anyone with any honesty knows is a lie) they would be reducing the options my employees have.

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I know that while we offer coverage to all our employees, we have three employees that have opted out of the insurance we provide. In each of the three cases, we increased their salary by the amount we pay in insurance for each employee. If coverage cost increase, then those three employees get a raise by how ever much insurance rises on top of whatever other raise they might receive that year.

 

Then kudos for being one of the "magical" businesses in "fantasyland" that does this.

 

The other 99.999999999% of businesses do not necessarily do this, so lets try and base this on reality, shall we?

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No, they realize that if their insurance company isn't providing the services they want, they are free to buy their insurance from another provider. Those pushing for health care reform fail to realize that 85% are happy with their own insurance plans. Look at the 45.6 Million that census bureau

 

The problem with health insurance (or any insurance, for that matter) is that you don't see the cracks in the system until they USE it.

 

In other words, when potentially life and death decisions are being made, it's too late to switch - so you're either on the hook for money you thought your insurance company would pay or you're dead.

 

Either way the outcome is negative for the consumer.

 

62% of all bankruptcies are linked to health-care costs....and 80% of those filing HAD health insurance. THAT is the number that scares me more than any other - the fact that your finances are a house of cards dependent on the whims of health and big business.

Edited by Chavez
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Then kudos for being one of the "magical" businesses in "fantasyland" that does this.

 

The other 99.999999999% of businesses do not necessarily do this, so lets try and base this on reality, shall we?

 

I don't know what other businesses offer but several around her do that. Do you own a business? Have you ever gone to your employer telling him that your wife (or life partner whatever the case may be) has a better insurance plan and that you would like to have your salary increased by what they are currently paying for insurance on your behalf? It doesn't make a chit bit of difference, as the total compensation package remains the same.

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Those pushing for health care reform fail to realize that 85% are happy with their own insurance plans.

 

You just made that number up, you moron. The latest number I could find is that 15.8% of Americans are uninsured. So you're saying that 100% of insured Americans are happy, and that .8% of those with no insurance are fine with that too.

 

Lets take a poll here of how many people are happy with their insurance plans. Do you think it will approach 50%, never mind 85%?

 

What a load a crap you try to spill. Why would anyone take you seriously?

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are there private insurance plans that pay doctors to initiate "end of life" discussions which are intended to save the insurance company money?

VOLUNTARY discussions, yes.

 

Why are you so scared of doctors helping people confront their own mortality? Ignoring death doesn't make it less likely to happen, or less expensive to deal with.

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62% of all bankruptcies are linked to health-care costs....and 80% of those filing HAD health insurance. THAT is the number that scares me more than any other - the fact that your finances are a house of cards dependent on the whims of health and big business.

 

How many of those people didn't have a prudent reserve due to choosing material goods over security? How many were on the brink of bankruptcy prior to getting sick? How may of those missed significant work time due to their illness that also contributed to their bankruptcy? That is a crap stat, and you probably already know it. 99% of bankruptcies are caused because people made poor spending and poor life choices.

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You just made that number up, you moron. The latest number I could find is that 15.8% of Americans are uninsured. So you're saying that 100% of insured Americans are happy, and that .8% of those with no insurance are fine with that too.

 

Lets take a poll here of how many people are happy with their insurance plans. Do you think it will approach 50%, never mind 85%?

 

What a load a crap you try to spill. Why would anyone take you seriously?

 

Link

 

Most Americans rate the nation's health care as no better than average when compared with health care in other industrialized countries. Just 15% say health care in this country is the "best in the world," while 23% rate it as "above average"; about six-in-ten (59%) view U.S. health care as either "average" (32%) or "below average" (27%).

 

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press' May 2009 study found that health care receives relatively poor ratings compared with other major U.S. institutions and systems. About eight in-ten (82%) say either that the U.S. military is the best in the world (42%) or that it is above average (39%). Majorities also rate the nation's scientific achievements (65%) and standard of living (63%) as either the best in the world or above average, while half (50%) say this about the U.S. political system.

The economy is the only item on the survey that receives a rating lower than health care.

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How many of those people didn't have a prudent reserve due to choosing material goods over security? How many were on the brink of bankruptcy prior to getting sick? How may of those missed significant work time due to their illness that also contributed to their bankruptcy?

Gee, ya think a major illness causes someone to miss work time?

That is a crap stat, and you probably already know it. 99% of bankruptcies are caused because people made poor spending and poor life choices.

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

The Impact of Rising Health Care Costs

 

* Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate with significant drops in health insurance coverage, and national surveys also show that the primary reason people are uninsured is due to the high and escalating cost of health insurance coverage.8

* A recent study found that 62 percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses. Of those who filed for bankruptcy, nearly 80 percent had health insurance.9

* According to another published article, about 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.10

* Without health care reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years in health care costs for their workers, 178,000 small business jobs will be lost by 2018 as a result of health care costs, $834 billion in small business wages will be lost due to high health care costs over the next ten years, small businesses will lose $52.1 billion in profits to high health care costs and 1.6 million small business workers will suffer “job lock“— roughly one in 16 people currently insured by their employers.11

 

As a small business owner, you may want to pay attention to the "crap stats" in the last bit. $240 billion PER YEAR - just from SMALL businesses.

 

I don't like the current plan(s) put forth, and you don't have to either. But defending the status quo is just head-in-the-sand stupid. The current system is f*cked.

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You just made that number up, you moron.

 

Your right, I had that number wrong (I misremembered it) The actual number breaks down like this. 70% rate their coverage as good or excellent, 23% rate it as fair, and only 6 rate it as poor. So, 93% are happy.

 

Link

 

This is the link to all the other stats i quoted. The only exception is the percentages of the population which I calculated using these stats and a population of 304 Million..

Edited by Perchoutofwater
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Gee, ya think a major illness causes someone to miss work time?

 

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

 

 

As a small business owner, you may want to pay attention to the "crap stats" in the last bit. $240 billion PER YEAR - just from SMALL businesses.

 

I don't like the current plan(s) put forth, and you don't have to either. But defending the status quo is just head-in-the-sand stupid. The current system is f*cked.

 

I'm on record saying I think something needs to be done, but that the current plan sucks balls. Oh and Bushwhacked, people think our system sucks because the the media that is unquestionably biased tells us our system sucks. Look at what they are saying about their own coverage, not the system, and that tells you how far in the tank the media is, and how gullible many American's are.

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You just made that number up, you moron. The latest number I could find is that 15.8% of Americans are uninsured. So you're saying that 100% of insured Americans are happy, and that .8% of those with no insurance are fine with that too.

 

Lets take a poll here of how many people are happy with their insurance plans. Do you think it will approach 50%, never mind 85%?

 

What a load a crap you try to spill. Why would anyone take you seriously?

 

gallup:

 

One reason this inconsistency may exist is that Americans are quite happy with their health plans. Eighty-three percent of Americans rate the quality of healthcare they receive as excellent or good, while only 15% say theirs is poor. Slightly less, 70%, say their healthcare coverage is excellent or good. These ratings have been fairly stable in the seven years in which Gallup's Healthcare survey has been conducted.

 

if you look at the graph below that quote, you'll see that 25% rate their health coverage as excellent, 45% as good, and 15% as fair. total, 85%.

 

here is a more recent poll, where the percentage rating their coverage as "good or excellent" is 80%.

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if you look at the graph below that quote, you'll see that 25% rate their health coverage as excellent, 45% as good, and 15% as fair. total, 85%.

 

here is a more recent poll, where the percentage rating their coverage as "good or excellent" is 80%.

I don't know that I'd lump a "fair" rating in the "happy" category.

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