jueves, 20 de agosto de 2009

Nat Hentoff must be on the McCarthism bandwagon along with Sarah Palin

Nat Hentoff has a long history as a dissident. It's hard to believe that he would be part of any right-wing attack machine or be a follower of anyone--let alone of so-called McCarthyite Sarah Palin. I'd love to see Richard Cohen call him a McCarthyist to his face. That won't happen, though. Cohen and his ilk will never pick on people their own size. And yet, Hentoff echoes her concerns:

Does the following sound like "death panels?"
I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) - as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill - decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It's already in the stimulus bill signed into law.
Hentoff sees a massive bait-and-switch forming on the horizon. Does this sound like "death panels?":
No matter what Congress does when it returns from its recess, rationing is a basic part of Obama's eventual master health care plan. Here is what Obama said in an April 28 New York Times interview (quoted in Washington Times July 9 editorial) in which he describes a government end-of-life services guide for the citizenry as we get to a certain age, or are in a certain grave condition. Our government will undertake, he says, a "very difficult democratic conversation" about how "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care" costs. Emphasis added.
Is this an example of McCarthyism?
A specific end-of-life proposal is in draft Section 1233 of H.R. 3200, a House Democratic health care bill that is echoed in two others that also call for versions of "advance care planning consultation" every five years - or sooner if the patient is diagnosed with a progressive or terminal illness.
Hentoff adds the following, which makes Palin's fearmongering McCarthyism seem placid:
As more Americans became increasingly troubled by this and other fearful elements of Dr. Obama's cost-efficient health care regimen, Smith [Wesley Smith, reporter/researcher into the health industry and author of Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America (Encounter Books)] adds this vital advice, no matter what legislation Obama finally signs into law:

"Remember that legislation itself is only half the problem with Obamacare. Whatever bill passes, hundreds of bureaucrats in the federal agencies will have years to promulgate scores of regulations to govern the details of the law.

"This is where the real mischief could be done because most regulatory actions are effectuated beneath the public radar. It is thus essential, as just one example, that any end-of-life counseling provision in the final bill be specified to be purely voluntary ... and that the counseling be required by law to be neutral as to outcome. Otherwise, even if the legislation doesn't push in a specific direction - for instance, THE GOVERNMENT REFUSING TREATMENT - the regulations could." (Emphasis added.)
The problem isn't the rationing and death panels in themselves. People are used to such things since all goods and services are "rationed" somehow by cost in the free market. The problem is that Obama is proposing government rationing and death panels. In other words, he's proposing socializing health care by taking it away from free market forces and giving it to some group of government wise men who will have the very difficult democratic conversation about what care a person deserves to recieve, or not.

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