Sound unbelievable? Horrific? Don't be too shocked, this is how Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel thinks and he is our Health Czar. It is his belief that up to this point doctors have taken their moral and ethical obligations too far, taken the Hippocratic Oath too seriously.
True reform, he argues, must include redefining doctors' ethical obligations. In the June 18, 2008, issue of JAMA, Dr. Emanuel blames the Hippocratic Oath for the "overuse" of medical care: "Medical school education and post graduate education emphasize thoroughness," he writes. "This culture is further reinforced by a unique understanding of professional obligations, specifically the Hippocratic Oath's admonition to 'use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment' as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."Dr. Emanuel believes heath care should be reserved for those who don't need it. I must concur, not treating the sick, old, very young, or least productive will indeed lower the overall costs of health care, but is this where we really want to go?
Not only does Dr. Emanuel advocate not treating those with health problems, he would also gear society to support only those that are "worth it". In other words, we should be breeding a bigger, smarter, better, society. Is it any wonder some compare this Administration to Hitler?
Dr. Emanuel argues that to make such decisions, the focus cannot be only on the worth of the individual. He proposes adding the communitarian perspective to ensure that medical resources will be allocated in a way that keeps society going: substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity—those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations—are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Covering services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic, and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." (Hastings Center Report, November-December, 1996)Careful, if you lock your keys in the car more than once, you could be on the chopping block for care.
Finally, the good doctor sites completely false and misleading facts to back up his reasoning for rationing health care in America.
Dr. Emanuel's assessment of American medical care is summed up in a Nov. 23, 2008, Washington Post op-ed he co-authored: "The United States is No. 1 in only one sense: the amount we shell out for health care. We have the most expensive system in the world per capita, but we lag behind many developed nations on virtually every health statistic you can name."Unfortunately, the people who track this data beg to differ with his assertion we spend too much and receive little in returns.
Dr. Emanuel has long been a proponent of government take-over of the health care system in the U.S.-he doesn't make that a secret. He thinks we should make decisions on care, not individually, not based on each individual persons circumstance, but as a group, based on statistics, facts, figures, and arbitrary numbers that have no meaning to you or me. The sad reality of a system like this is only we, the average citizen, would be subjected to this care and treatment. The ultra rich, politicians, and the powerful will always have the ability and the means to receive the best care available.
This is untrue, though sadly it's parroted at town-hall meetings across the country. Moreover, it's an odd factual error coming from an oncologist. According to an August 2009 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, patients diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. have a better chance of surviving the disease than anywhere else. The World Health Organization also rates the U.S. No. 1 out of 191 countries for responsiveness to the needs and choices of the individual patient.
I wonder if they will have to go to Canada to get it?