| August 12,
Seniors Oppose Obamacare
By Mike McManus
An ominous storm cloud has darkened Obama's Health care proposal: a Rasmussen
Poll showing that America's seniors oppose it by 56 percent vs. only 39 percent
in favor. Nearly half, 46 percent, said they were "strongly opposed."
Politically, this is a major problem for the Democratic Party. Ever since FDR's
New Deal created Social Security, and LBJ added Medicare, the elderly have been
a pillar of the Democratic Party. They remember the Republicans opposed both
Interestingly, the group most fervently in support of Obamacare are those least
likely to benefit from it, voters under age 30, who back it 2-1.
Why are the elderly opposed to Obamacare?
First, they love Medicare and see no reason to change it. Secondly, they have
heard that Obamacare will be funded, in part, by cutting Medicare spending by
$500 billion over a decade, which is called for by bills passed by House
"If there is a half trillion dollars of waste in Medicare, why wasn't it
cut out before?" asks Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council. "It is
hard to take out $500 billion from Medicare unless you are decreasing benefits
or cutting back on the actual practice of the program. Seniors are right to be
concerned. They are the ones who stand to lose the most."
But the bigger problem is the bill's Section 1233, mandating that doctors
give the elderly, "Advanced Care Planning Consultation." Seniors see that as
Part of this is reasonable. Everyone should have a living will and advanced
care directives so a loved one can make health care decisions on your behalf, if
you are unable to do so. Currently, only a third of people have made such plans.
However, this provision's big proponent is Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, an
enthusiastic supporter of his state's assisted suicide law. There are cases in
Oregon where cancer patients were told payments would not be made for cancer
treatment, only for assisted suicide! Dr. Prentice argues that is "geared to
Sarah Palin said there would be "Death Boards," deciding who would live and who
would be left to die. A young girl in New Hampshire held up a sign outside a
meeting where President Obama spoke Tuesday: "Obama Lies, Grandma Dies."
Obama told the Town Meeting, "The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is
this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for `death panel' that
will basically pull the plug on grandma."
"I'm not in favor of that," the president asserted, denouncing those making such
claims as using "scare tactics."
Scare tactics? Not according to Dr. Wesley Smith, who leads bioethics and human
rights for the Discovery Institute. The House-passed bill does set up "proper
care protocols" for cost savings. "The fear is that they would be rationing
boards, rather than entities which stick to saying, `Use generic drugs, rather
than brand name drugs.'
"We have to wait for the regulations to implement the law to know what powers
would be given. Therefore, I've looked at writings of advocates who have the
President's ear on this, such as Ezekiel Emmanuel, NIH's head bioethicist and
brother of the President's chief-of-staff, Rahm Emmanuel. In a "Lancet" article
earlier this year, Exekiel suggested that age be a proper method of allocating
scarce resources, and indeed, stated that age-based allocation is not invidious
He wrote: "Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious
discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than
being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds,
everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years old."
More important, consider the writing of Cass Sunstein, who was appointed by
Obama to be the "Regulatory Czar." This is the Executive Summary of a paper he
wrote in 2003 for the Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, entitled "Lives,
Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay." To protect health, he notes that government
has relied on cost-benefit analysis, which "monetized risks of death through the
idea of `value of a statistical life" assessed at $6.1 million.
Instead he proposes the measure be "value of a statistical life year" which
"would likely result in significantly lower benefit calculations for elderly
people, and significantly higher benefits calculations for children. I urge that
the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program
that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people."
Obamacare has become Obamascare!
Wesley Smith suggests a simple solution. "Put in a provision that Advanced Care
Planning is purely voluntary to the patient and the provider, and shall not be
directed to any particular result," such as cutting Medicare costs.
Without such language, millions may be pushed to die prematurely.
30+ Years / 1700+ Columns
2017: Column 1860: Cohabitation: A Growing Problem - Part I
Texting While Driving - A Killer
Why Have "Religious Nones" Tripled?
Norma McCorvey Roe of Roe v. Wade
The Worst Valentine: Cohabitation
Pornography: A Public Health Hazard
Christianity Gives Women Equal Opportunity
Sextortion Kills Teens
Assisted Suicide Is Growing
same sex marriage,
abortion and infanticide,