A few weeks ago, President Obama demanded that a national health care bill be on his desk before Congress’s summer recess. Since then, frenetic attempts to ram the 1,000-page bill through Congress have all but collapsed, as more and more politicians on both sides of the aisle have balked. Obama has been forced to back off, even while reiterating that, without deadlines, “nothing gets done in this town.”
Meanwhile, the gigantic bill’s ideologically hard-left, financially ruinous content is seeping into the public consciousness. And the outcry against Obamacare is growing in volume. This is especially true among pro-life groups, who are quite worried about what we see in the bill.
From our perspective, Obama’s supposed "reform" of the health care system doesn’t look like reform at all. Instead, it looks remarkably similar to some of the “health care” policies in nations whose focus is not on actual health care, but on population control, coercion, quotas, and rationing.
Abortion is an integral part of Obama’s vision for universal health care. In the bill’s current form, every taxpayer would have no choice but to pay for abortion with their tax dollars. The bill would also discriminate against medical practitioners who refused to perform abortions, practitioners who would face unemployment as a result. It would tear down existing state conscience clauses, overriding them with a federal abortion mandate. It would also put nearly all existing medical insurance providers out of business over time, gradually making Obama pro-abortion insurance the only insurance available.
In other words, this bill is the most potent push for abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade simply made abortion-on-demand legal. Obama not only wants abortion to be available, he wants you to pay for it, advocate it and, if you are a medical practitioner, perform it, regardless of how strongly your pro-life sentiments are held.
How will the President and Congressional liberals pay for their trillion-dollar plan? They say that they will slash unnecessary costs, but the way the bill reads they will actually be slashing "unnecessary" people.
The groundwork for this was laid, unnoticed by pretty much everyone, in the recent stimulus package. Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and the chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infectious Deaths, was one of the only ones to notice the language. In a February 9th Bloomberg piece, she reported on a little-known insertion to the stimulus bill that said that “one new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).” As McCaughey points out, these types of provisions are nearly always code for health-care rationing for seniors.
The health care bill now being proposed takes these measures a step further. In section 1233, the bill says that the elderly shall receive an actual visit from a government official, who will conduct an “advance care planning consultation,” if “the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years.” It goes on to outline what would be discussed at this “consultation,” subjects like “the intensity of medical intervention if the patient is pulseless, apneic, or has serious cardiac or pulmonary problems,” “the individual’s desire regarding transfer to a hospital or remaining at the current care setting,” “the use of antibiotics,” and “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.”
At first glance, it may seem that the elderly, who may not be fully aware of their options, are simply being offered a spectrum of end-of-life treatments. But we at PRI believe that this is in fact an effort to deny the elderly such things. This language will allow meddlesome government bureaucrats into your home to pressure you to refuse—in advance—lifesaving medical care on cost-cutting grounds.
If this seems like an overreaction, consider the records of the political appointees who will be implementing this provision.
Take John Holdren, Obama’s new science czar. Holdren has written quite explicitly in favor of mandatory population control. In a book (entitled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment and co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich of “population bomb” fame, Holdren speculates on how population control could probably be instituted without changing the American constitution.
In another noteworthy example, Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s new HHS secretary (replacing the scandal-ridden Tom Daschle), recently complained that most American insurance packages do not include abortion except in limited circumstances. Sebelius also drew fire from pro-lifers because of huge campaign donations that she received from the late abortion doctor George Tiller.
And then there is Obama himself, the most pro-abortion, pro-population control president we have ever had. He claims that his health care reform will not increase the national deficit by a single dime. This is, of course, utterly impossible, unless some major concessions are made in the quality of care that Americans receive. Seen in this way, the visit from a government-sponsored “practitioner” sounds less like a complimentary consultation, and more like a government cost-saving measure. It will be at this meeting that the government will decide whether or not a person is worth continuing to care for, or is simply “burdening” the system.
The question is this: Is Obama offering universal insurance to all Americans, but at the cost of health care? Does he think that Americans want universal insurance so badly that they are willing to give up their existing rights to medical care in order to get it?
As a divided Congress, an increasingly critical media, and plummeting approval ratings seem to indicate, the answer is a resounding “no.”