Why The Health Care Bill Is Scary

Senate Republicans have had health care plans. They also have the only two medical doctors in the Senate. The docs discuss why the health care bill is “scary”:

The bill is here.

Dr. Coburn says in his Wall Street Journal op-ed:

I recently suggested that seniors will die sooner if Congress actually implements the Medicare cuts in the health-care bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. My colleagues who defend the bill–none of whom have practiced medicine–predictably dismissed my concern as a scare tactic. They are wrong. Every American, not just seniors, should know that the rationing provisions in the Reid bill will not only reduce their quality of life, but their life spans as well.

My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact.

For instance, the Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost. An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill–composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members–will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program. Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients’ access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production. It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns. And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.

This isn’t too far off Sarah Palin’s much reviled Death Panels. It also has the added benefit of being true. Interestingly, Howard Dean, also a physician, is not happy with the bill, but for other reasons. He at least knows enough that the bill won’t benefit actual patients. That is the point of this bill, right?

And another thing, this op-ed by David Brooks is why moderates should never run anything. Mind you, this is the guy still in love with President Obama. [Yes, it’s wretch-inducing. Sorry.] He says:

So what’s my verdict? I have to confess, I flip-flop week to week and day to day. It’s a guess. Does this put us on a path toward the real reform, or does it head us down a valley in which real reform will be less likely?

If I were a senator forced to vote today, I’d vote no. If you pass a health care bill without systemic incentives reform, you set up a political vortex in which the few good parts of the bill will get stripped out and the expensive and wasteful parts will be entrenched.

So today, he’d vote no. Tomorrow? If he were a Senator, he’d have been bought already. It takes amazingly little access to buy a reporter. Ugh. And earlier in his piece he says:

Fourth, you can’t centrally regulate 17 percent of the U.S. economy without a raft of unintended consequences.

Fifth, it will slow innovation. Government regulators don’t do well with disruptive new technologies.

And yet, he’d consider voting for this stinker? See, big government is by definition, scary government. That’s the principle.

Individuals do it better. They protect their own self interests better. The government always, always, always makes things worse–slower, less responsive, punitive, heartless. And health care needs to be quick, responsive, compassionate and kind. That’s why this bill is scary. It will hurt people when they need help most.

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