Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama's Health Care

What health care will look like under Obama- from the man he himself has chosen to implement some of the reforms.

Blumenthal says his job is not about “just putting machinery in offices.” In fact, it’s about control. In a New England Journal of Medicine article published April 9, just after his appointment to the Obama administration was announced, Blumenthal explained that if electronic technology is to save money, doctors will have to take advantage of “clinical decision support,” a term of art for computers telling doctors what to do. He predicted that “many physicians and hospitals may rebel, petitioning Congress to change the law or just resigning themselves to . . . penalties.”

In short, your doctor won't be able to offer you the best course of treatment for your illness- just the most cost effective one, as mandated by unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

Government controls on health expenditures will reduce the availability of medical technology, such as MRIs, and cause waits for treatment. Blumenthal says it’s “debatable” whether the timely care Americans currently receive is worth the added price. Ask a cancer patient about waiting, and you’ll get a different answer. Delays lower your chance of survival. For example, women in the U.S are more likely to have regular mammograms than are women elsewhere, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund. Their breast cancer is detected sooner. They are also treated faster and have higher survival rates than women in any other developed country, according to the CONCORD study published in 2008 in Lancet Oncology. These statistics include all American women, not just those with insurance.

And again, we can look to the UK for what happens when the bureaucrats control medical decisions-

the chilling explanation offered by Sir Michael Rawlins, head of Britain’s National Institute of Clinical Effectiveness (NICE), for his nation’s low cancer survival rates. The British National Health Service, he is quoted as saying in the NEJM last November, has to be fair to all patients, “not just the patients with macular degeneration or breast cancer or renal cancer. If we spend a lot of money on a few patients, we have less money to spend on everyone else.”

The GOP should be on every TV show and in every newspaper they can with that quote- because the UK model is where Obama is ultimately going. The price will be the deaths of more patients because they are using too much of the finite budget. Government health care is rationed health care. Get too sick and you'll exceed what the government will allow your doctor to spend on you.

Five hospitals in the U.S. do more clinical trials than any entire country in Europe, including the U.K., the McKinsey Global Institute reported in December. If someone in your family has an incurable disease, you start each day hoping for a breakthrough. Yet in his writings, Blumenthal identifies innovation as a culprit driving up health spending.

In short, under Obama's proposed health care reforms, cost is the driving factor for all decisions- not what treatment will prove to be most beneficial to each patient and certainly not innovating new treatments and technologies to save lives. R&D costs too much. Blumenthal doesn't seem to care that research will one day find cures for diseases that now kill- all he's worried about is balancing a budget sheet- no matter how many lives it will cost. And on this point we need to be very clear- rationed medical care, longer waiting lists, less access to costly scans, limiting research; all of these things will kill people.

The frightening thing is that most people in America won't be aware of any of this- they'll just hear Obama talk about lowering health care costs and go along with the plan.

Few seem to realise that the only way to lower medical costs is to lower the quality of care. For Democrats, the lives of the seriously ill are of less concern than their much desired control of health care.

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