A health economist warns that President Obama's government-run healthcare plan may result in denying care to a significant number of Americans, especially senior citizens.

Conservative opponents of President Obama's healthcare plan have been arguing that a government takeover of healthcare will allow Washington bureaucrats to use "comparative effectiveness research" to dictate to doctors which treatments they should prescribe and how much those treatments should cost. Critics say this will lead to rationing of care.
In the medical journal The Lancet (January 2009 [PDF]) Obama's special health policy advisor Ezekiel Emanuel wrote that if healthcare has to be rationed, he prefers the "complete lives system," which "discriminates against older people."

Dr. Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, says Emanuel believes young adults should be given preferential care over seniors because they have more years of their life ahead of them.
"I guess the implication of that is if you're older, you will be assumed to have lived a complete life; whereas if you're younger, you'd have yet to live a complete life," Herrick suggests. "So in a way I kind of see it as a method to ration care to the elderly, but trying to use an ethicist's view to justify it."
In an article written more than a decade ago [PDF] for the Hastings Center Report, Dr. Emanuel suggested that health services should not be guaranteed to "individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens." He said "an obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

'Obamacare' targets young, healthy, wealthy

A Florida congresswoman says the healthcare legislation being pushed by President Obama sends a blunt message to senior citizens: "drop dead."
On Monday, President Obama said that "the single biggest threat to our fiscal stability" and "the single thing that could drive us into long-term staggering and difficult debt" is Medicare and Medicaid.
Obama told Jim Lehrer of PBS that he wants to "stop providing $177 billion worth of subsidies to the insurance companies for a Medicare Advantage program that offers no additional benefits to seniors, compared to regular old Medicare."

Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Florida) says the House healthcare bill essentially tells senior citizens to "drop dead." (Listen to audio report)
"Despite their promise to care for our seniors, Democrats have decided that it's too expensive to care for my senior constituents and everyone else's constituents," she contends. "This bill would cut an additional $156 billion from the Medicare Advantage program in order to pay for the government expansion of healthcare for the young, the healthy, and the wealthy."
Brown-Waite argues the cut in Medicare Advantage is not the first attack on senior citizens this year. She notes that in March the Obama administration announced that Social Security recipients would not receive a cost-of-living increase.

Contact: Jim Brown
Source: OneNewsNow
Publish Date: July 24, 2009
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