Abortion and Health Care Reform
Truth be told, I'm not that "politically minded". I haven't had local or cable TV coverage in my home for 10+ years, I almost never listen to talk radio, and there are zero print or electronic news subscriptions to my credit. My political naivety surprises some people, but Abort73 has never been about political engagement. We're working to eliminate abortion through education – believing that when enough minds change, the law will finally change also. Nevertheless, it's hard to escape the shadow of health care reform these days, no matter how politically disconnected you are. As president Obama tries to calm the swelling storm of protest, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell what health care reform is and isn't. But it doesn't take much digging to ascertain that at the very least, the health care system currently envisioned by the White House would pay for and almost certainly increase the frequency of abortion, dramatically. And it may not stop there. Abortion, euthanasia, rationing... the devil is in the details. Take a look at the following excerpts and see what you think.
Gov't insurance would allow coverage for abortion (AP) Aug 5, 2009
WASHINGTON — Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue.
Federal funds for abortions are now restricted to cases involving rape, incest or danger to the health of the mother...
The Democratic health care legislation as originally introduced in the House and Senate did not mention abortion...
Since abortion is a legal medical procedure, experts on both sides say not mentioning it would allow health care plans in the new insurance exchange to provide unrestricted coverage...
Under both the House and Senate approaches, the decision to offer abortion coverage in the public plan would be made by the health and human services secretary (that's Kathleen Sebelius, the Planned Parenthood-endorsed, George Tiller-funded, non-elected former Kansas governor).
Healthcare debate's next hurdle: abortion (LA Times) July 28, 2009
Reporting from Washington - With House leaders struggling to reach agreement on healthcare legislation, aiming toward a possible vote this week, a new hurdle has emerged: abortion.
Some conservative Democrats are threatening to pull their support from the massive healthcare bill unless their concerns over potential federal funding of abortion procedures are met. They fear that the Obama administration will take advantage of an expanded government role in healthcare to increase the availability of abortions nationwide.
The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, explicitly prevents the federal government from using tax dollars to fund abortion through Medicaid. But the reach of that law grows murkier if the government establishes its own competitive health insurance plan...
Undue Influence: The House Bill Skews End-of-Life Counsel (The Washington Post) Aug 8, 2009
Until now, federal law has encouraged end-of-life planning -- gently...
Section 1233, however, addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones (Section 1233 of the health-care bill drafted in the Democratic-ledHouse would pay doctors to give Medicare patients end-of-lifecounseling every five years)...
Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren't quite "purely voluntary," as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, "purely voluntary" means "not unless the patient requests one." Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that's an incentive to insist.
Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they're in the meeting, the bill does permit "formulation" of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would "place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign," I don't think he's being realistic.
What's more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation. The doctor "shall" discuss "advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to"; "an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses" (even though these are legal, not medical, instruments); and "a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families." The doctor "shall" explain that Medicare pays for hospice care (hint, hint).
Admittedly, this script is vague and possibly unenforceable. What are "key questions"? Who belongs on "a list" of helpful "resources"? The Roman Catholic Church? Jack Kevorkian?
Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life's end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it's good to have a doctor's perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don't have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.
Government Medicine Should Horrify Americans (RealClearPolitics) Aug 7, 2009
The state guides health care for our two closest allies: Great Britain and Canada. Like us, these are prosperous, industrial, Anglophone democracies. Nevertheless, compared to America, they suffer higher death rates for diseases, their patients experience severe pain, and they ration medical services...
* Breast cancer kills 25 percent of its American victims. In Great Britain, the Vatican of single-payer medicine, breast cancer extinguishes 46 percent of its targets.
* Prostate cancer is fatal to 19 percent of its American patients. The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that it kills 57 percent of Britons it strikes...
* "Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets," Daniel Martin wrote last year in London's Daily Mail. "Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour [party] pledge. The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 911 calls. Doctors warned last night that the practice of ‘patient-stacking' was putting patients' health at risk."
* Canada has one-third fewer doctors per capita than the OECD average. "The doctor shortage is a direct result of government rationing, since provinces intervened to restrict class sizes in major Canadian medical schools in the 1990s," Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician and Manhattan Institute scholar, told the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee on June 24. Some towns address the doctor dearth with lotteries in which citizens compete for rare medical appointments.
* "In 2008, the average Canadian waited 17.3 weeks from the time his general practitioner referred him to a specialist until he actually received treatment," Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes, a Canadian native, wrote in the July 2 Investor's Business Daily. "That's 86 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the [Fraser] Institute first started quantifying the problem."
* Such sloth includes a median 9.7-week wait for an MRI exam, 31.7 weeks to see a neurosurgeon, and 36.7 weeks - nearly nine months - to visit an orthopedic surgeon.
Though Abort73 does not lobby as an organization, there are still plenty of ways for individuals to make their voices heard. For help contacting your senators or house representative, visit the Health Care Reform Action Center on the National Right to Life website to express your concern over proposed health care reform.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.