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ObamaCare and the Election: Money,

Power, and Death

By: Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Many of the issues swirling around before this election are mere distractions. At its center is the giant power struggle between the ruling elite and productive Americans.

The appealing message from our rulers is “empowerment.” But this does not mean empowerment of the uninsured, the unemployed, food stamp recipients, illegal aliens, and other needy persons. It means consolidation of power at the top, and the disempowerment of any potential rivals: successful industries, prosperous professionals, even small businesses that are still solvent and independent. Like small doctors’ practices.

Giving people a handout instead of a hand up never makes them stronger. It makes them more dependent, and turns them into an army of pawns who can be counted on to do the will of those who feed them. They reliably vote for their supposed benefactors. And some of them also register illegals to vote, disrupt town halls or tea parties, key cars displaying signs for challengers, steal campaign signs, disseminate slander, and try to intimidate people. If things get really bad, they could become an army of rioters, looters, and worse.

The productive Americans who work every day, mind their own business, take care of their families, obey the law, and make the country function are being bled through “redistributive” taxes, which primarily benefit those who will soon be strong enough to trample their liberties and reduce them to poverty. The tax donors will have to cooperate with the rulers, and censor their own protests—or else.

NPR sent a message through Juan Williams. If they can do it to someone with an audience as large as his, nobody is safe from the thought police.

Nowhere is the threat to professionals and those whom they serve more apparent than in ObamaCare—if you read the actual law and not the glossy flyers sent by Medicare at taxpayer expense.

The requirements of the law are so costly and onerous that most physicians, if they continue to practice at all, will be forced into “accountable care organizations.” Accountable to whom? To the System, that is to the elite “decisionmakers.” Accountable for what? For reducing “costs” (that means spending on medical care), and for implementing “best practices.”

The first target is the “elderly” (those over the age of 65), and others who might be near the “end of life,” since that is where most of the medical money goes. Not incidentally, older Americans can also be a problem, judging by the crowd at tea parties, since they know something of American history and have lived most of their lives in a free society.

We have heard that ObamaCare is funded partly by redistributing Medicare “savings” of some $500 billion over 10 years. This is less than half a truth. If the 10-year period starts with full implementation in 2014 rather than in 2010, the amount is $800 billion, states Peter Ferrara in his book The Obamacare Disaster. And over the first 20 years of implementation, the amount rises to nearly $3 trillion.

ObamaCare advocates claim they can do this by cutting out the 30 percent of services that are “unnecessary,” as determined by them. A knee replacement, for example, probably doesn’t save your life—it is not “necessary” to be able to walk or to be pain free. And it will also cut out “fraud”—which increasingly is defined to include “unnecessary” services, as well as those coded incorrectly or not meeting the established “standard of care.”

There are no death panels. And no euthanasia. In fact, the law takes care to specify that physicians and institutions are protected against discrimination or retaliation for refusing to participate in physician-assisted suicide.

However, this protection explicitly does not extend to refusal to participate in overmedication or withdrawal of treatment or food and water. More ominously, we already see state laws proposed to immunize physicians from criminal or civil liability, or discipline for carrying out the terms of a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form, though they may be disciplined for failure to do so.

Keep in mind that these days “life-sustaining treatment” includes food and water, especially if “artificially” administered, say because the patient is too heavily medicated to be able to swallow. Such “palliative sedation” is a new subject for discussion in the medical journals that have been advocating Obama-style “reform” for decades. No, the sedative doesn’t kill the patient—it just keeps her more comfortable while she is dehydrating, and also keeps her from taking deep breaths or moving around. So within two weeks she is dead. If the underlying disease doesn’t kill her, dehydration, or the pneumonia or blood clots resulting from immobility will.

It’s not a very long stretch to envision doctors being prosecuted for failing to carry out patients’ alleged wishes for early death through sedated dehydration.

Before it comes to that, doctors will just be co-opted into the System, or marginalized as being “greedy,” “disruptive,” or “paranoid” if they insist on following the Oath of Hippocrates.

In the days just before the election, incumbents are desperate. They will do anything to prevent reasoned debate on the central issue of where America is headed—toward the consolidation of central government power. They may even admit to minor errors and promise to “tweak” fundamentally flawed laws like ObamaCare. Look for a blitz of attack ads, false accusations, and outright election fraud.

“Reformers” talk a lot about “fragmentation”—of things like medical care. Their real fear is fragmentation of their power. That’s what a thorough housecleaning this election would mean. It would give Americans who believe in our founding principles a chance to take back our country.

Failure to seize this opportunity probably spells the death of freedom–and literal death, for the most vulnerable first.

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has been in solo practice of general internal medicine since 1981 and is a clinical lecturer in medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is the author of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis; the fourth edition has just been published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. She also authored YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Health Care, published by Crown. She is the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a voice for patients’ and physicians’ independence since 1943. Complete curriculum vitae posted at www.drjaneorient.com.