NCPA: White House Has Ideas On How To Ration Health Care
July 22, 2009
Presidential Health Advisor's Writings Support Less Care for the Elderly
DALLAS, TX (July 22, 2009) - On the cusp of President Obama's news conference tonight, the National Center for Policy Analysis points to evidence that the President's health care reform plan may result in denying care to a significant number of Americans, especially the elderly.
"Clearly the Administration does not consider doctors the best judges of the type of health care people need," said NCPA President John C. Goodman. "The obvious end game: Washington will tell doctors how to practice medicine and dictate what kind of health care patients receive." Goodman's full statement appears in an entry he posted today on this subject at his health policy blog.
The NCPA cites two scholarly articles in which the President's health advisor Ezekiel Emanuel outlined how health care rationing could be carried out. Emanuel, special advisor for health policy to the director for the White House Office of Management and Budget, says young adults should be given preference over seniors because younger people have more years of life ahead of them. He also says that young adults should be given preferential care over very young children because society already has made an investment in their education.
In the medical journal The Lancet, Emanuel writes that if health care has to be rationed, he prefers the "complete lives system," which "discriminates against older people....Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years."
In a different article written more than 10 years ago for the Hastings Center Report, Emanuel said health services should not be guaranteed to "individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens." Emanuel wrote, "An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."
As a part of a better solution to health reform, the NCPA is taking an active role in promoting consumer-driven health care options by supporting a national petition drive to educate citizens. The "Free Our Health Care Now" petition has already been signed by over 620,000 people opposed to a government nationalization of our health care system: http://freeourhealthcarenow.com/
Editor's note: Dr. Goodman can speak to the impact and costs of the new health care reform legislation, as well as patient-centered reform alternatives.