WASHINGTON -- If you have any sense that you may be getting sick in the years ahead, I suggest you get sick immediately. If you will be in need of surgery or any other medical procedure, do it now! If not immediately, be certain that you hand yourself over to the health care professionals before Oct. 15 of this year. That is the date on which President Barack Obama hopes to sign his health care bill once it has gone through the congressional baloney grinder.
At the heart of President Obama's plan is his stated goal to cut medical costs. That might sound good to you, but it means cutting services, nurses, technicians, medical tests and, most prominently, the use of expensive technology. The president's top medical advisers are quite frank about this. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel and a health policy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget, has chided Americans for the expense of their being "enamored with technology." Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, charges medical innovations as being responsible for fully two-thirds of the annual increase in health care spending. Their solution is to limit expensive innovations. A 2008 Congressional Budget Office report agrees with their cost analysis but concludes happily that such innovations "permit the treatment of previously untreatable conditions." As I shall show, there are more humane ways to cut health care costs.
Also at the heart of President Obama's plan is the restriction of services for people 65 and older, who by virtue of modern medicine may actually be 10 to 15 years younger in terms of good health than they would have been a generation ago. Alas, they still have higher health risks and costs than younger people. Thus, they are going to bear the brunt of the Obama administration's cost cuts, for 27 to 30 percent of Medicaid spending is spent for caring for people at the ends of their lives. With the government taking over more of the nation's health care costs under the Obama regime, it already has been decided that government monies are spent more economically on younger people than on older people. If a 65-year-old needs the cost of a hip replacement covered, the government will say it would better spend that money on a younger person, whose hip will last longer. Or perhaps the government will decide the money is better spent on preventive medicine for younger people.