Forerunner of Independent Payment Advisory Board
Now that the election is over, and – barring some unforeseen stroke of luck – ObamaCare is here to stay, we will have to get used to it. One of its most controversial provisions is the Independent Payment Advisory Board or IPAB, what I call Kevorkian’s Klones.
This refers to the late Jack Kevorkian, M.D., “Doctor Death” who was personally responsible for killing at least 47 “patients,” and perhaps over 100. Nevertheless, he had many supporters. When some people have difficulty distinguishing between a physician and a serial killer, would you say we have a problem?
Most of these “patients” had fatal diseases, but 75% were not in a terminal condition. Some had chronic but nonfatal diseases, and five had no known disease at all. Even worse, many of the “patients” were not evaluated or treated by a psychiatrist for depression. The treatment for depression includes psychotherapy, family support, and antidepressant drugs – but not death. If a depressed person commits suicide, we consider this a failure. But if we kill her, is this a success? Really?
Worse still, the majority of Kevorkian’s “patients” were women. Check out the court cases that authorized assisted suicide or euthanasia. You will find the names Nancy Cruzan, Karen Ann Quinlan, Elizabeth Bouvia, and Terri Schiavo. They were women, as were 32 out of 47 or 68% of the people killed by Dr. Kevorkian. Being elderly or disabled is becoming dangerous, but being a disabled woman is more dangerous. That doesn’t trouble most ethicists or judges. Of course, the majority of them are men.
Worst of all, many of the patients did not have their diagnoses verified by an independent specialist. For example, those with cancer did not have their biopsies reviewed by a second pathologist. Those with neurologic diseases were not evaluated by a second neurologist, or those with rheumatic diseases by a second rheumatologist. And sadly, many of those with chronic pain were not evaluated by an expert in pain management.
In short, the bias was to end life, not to make it more comfortable. This brings us to the subject of ObamaCare.
Consider President Obama’s view of surgery for the elderly: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” And don’t forget Obama’s opinion of cardiac pacemakers for the elderly: “If we’ve got experts that are advising doctors across the board that it will save money…” But then, even the pain medication can be restricted. Now there’s a comforting thought.
Of course, to save even more money, everyone should die soon after they start receiving Social Security and Medicare. Bureaucrats call it “cost-effectiveness” and “quality of life” assessment. As expected, the quality of your life will be assessed not by you or your loved ones, but by unelected bureaucrats who never laid eyes on you – and have no desire to do so.
Sarah Palin and others were ridiculed as ignorant fools for warning about “death panels.” But what would you call a 15-member commission that decides what treatments can – and cannot – be given to all ObamaCare patients, not just Medicare patients? What would you call a commission whose members cannot be removed or overridden except with great difficulty?
You don’t like the term “death panels”? Fine. I call them “Kevorkian’s Klones,” but you can call them “Bean-counting Bureaucratic Bullies” or “Scrooge’s Stooges” or whatever you like. It’s not the name that’s frightening – it’s the unrestrained power of life and death over 314 million Americans that should scare you.
But wait, you object. You say it’s unfair to compare the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the 15-member panel that will decide who gets what treatment – and who doesn’t – to Dr. Kevorkian. I agree. It is unfair…to Kevorkian.
● Kevorkian came only when called for. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will show up uninvited and never leave.
● Kevorkian came when you decided you’d be better off dead. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will tell you you’d be better off dead.
● Kevorkian did the dirty work himself – and took the blame. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will issue regulations that limit what doctors and hospitals can do – and the doctors and hospitals will be blamed by patients and their families for denying care.
● Kevorkian was a private citizen. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will be armed with the full power of the federal government.
● Kevorkian eventually was sent to prison by a judge and jury for breaking the law. The ObamaCare bureaucrats are in effect above the law. It will be nearly impossible to remove or overrule them, and they are not subject to judicial review. Courts can review actions of the president or Congress, but not actions of this board? Say what?
● Kevorkian was straightforward – he announced he was there to help you die. The ObamaCare bureaucrats wrap themselves in the mantle of “caring” and “fairness.”
● Kevorkian looked like what he was – a death-obsessed crank with a creepy smile and weird eyes. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will hide behind Obama’s warm smile and friendly face. You’ll never see them, but you’ll surely feel their effect on your life.
● Kevorkian was a piker, killing “patients” one by one. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will kill thousands with a keystroke, and then adjourn to the executive dining room for lunch.
● Kevorkian was efficient – when he arrived, you died. The ObamaCare bureaucrats will be as inefficient as most federal bureaucrats. It may well be that, like many welfare programs, ObamaCare is not intended to succeed but to fail. Then even more intrusive programs can be introduced. Here this means “single payer” – entirely government-run health care, which Obama declared he favors. Leftism isn’t a goal that can be reached – it’s a never-ending process of bigger and bigger government, until freedom is just a vague memory, and citizens are reduced to subjects.
● Kevorkian had an M.D., though he was trained as a pathologist and had no experience with living patients. The ObamaCare bureaucrats are not required to have any training or experience in health care. Have a nice day.
● Kevorkian was a physician. But in all its 2400 pages, ObamaCare provides only for hiring more bureaucrats and IRS agents – and not one penny to train more doctors, nurses, paramedics, physicians’ assistants, technicians, or any other health-care personnel. In addition, many physicians plan to leave practice when ObamaCare takes effect.
More patients + fewer doctors = rationing. Of course, this is the intended result. Again, the doctors and hospitals, not the government, will be blamed for the shortages and the long delays. Then people will call for even more government regulations to solve the problem that government created in the first place. And so it goes in the downward spiral called Big Government.
So I must apologize to the late Dr. Kevorkian for associating him with ObamaCare bureaucrats. He doesn’t look so bad by comparison.
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