Politicizing Medicine, Medicalizing Politics
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Nor is Steve Pearlstein a doctor. Pearlstein is the respected business columnist of the Washington Post. His weekly column scorched President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her decision to override an impartial expert panel’s advice on mammograms.
He wrote: “Sebelius did a marvelous job...of undermining the move toward evidence-based medicine with her hasty and cowardly disavowal of a recommendation from her department's own task force that women under 50 are probably better off not getting routine annual mammograms.”
How does Steve Pearlstein know which advice is better for women--an HHS panel of medical experts or the Secretary of HHS? He doesn’t and I don’t. One thing is clear, we’re going to get this kind of back-and-forthing every week from now until the day we die unless the government takeover of health care is stopped.
President Obama’s chief adviser on health care is Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. Dr. Emmanuel thinks the problem with burgeoning health care costs is that pesky Hippocratic Oath. Too many doctors are too concerned about their own patients; they’re not looking at the bigger picture. In a world of scarce resources, wouldn’t it be better to take our chances that some women 41-50 will get breast cancer than to devote a disproportionate share of society’s total resources to MRI’s for them. We could treat a lot of diabetics for what it costs to save a few women from breast cancer. Do the math. That’s the Zeke approach.
It’s probably really convenient that Zeke and Rahm are brothers. That way we can apply Chicago-style politics to your health care needs. You won’t have many choices under ObamaCare. But you don’t have many choices for Mayor in Chicago, either. And they like it that way.
One thing not being mentioned in this week’s battle over early detection for breast cancer is the abortion-breast cancer connection. Abortion can increase the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer. So can use of the contraceptive pill.
These are not things you are likely to hear in this debate. Why? Because the fight to defend human life has already politicized medical care in this country.
Drs. Joel Brind and Angela Lanfranchi are highly educated medical and researchers. They head the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. Note their emphasis on prevention. It’s a word we rarely hear in politicized discussions of breast cancer.
President and Mrs. Obama placed a giant pink ribbon outside the White House last month. It was breast cancer awareness month. Is there anyone in the U.S. who is not aware of breast cancer? And liberal blather about how men just don’t get it, just don’t care about breast cancer is nonsense. Men have mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters whom we love. (Men, by the way, can get breast cancer, too.)
We need to pay greater attention to prevention strategies. Drs. Brind and Lanfranchi offer common sense recommendations, including these: 1. Reduce exposure to estrogen (such as that included in birth control pills, patches and injectable or implantable hormones). 2. Don’t smoke. 3. Exercise. 4. Maintain early body weight. 5. Have children earlier in life. 6. Breast feed your children. 7. Avoid induced abortion. 8. Avoid induced premature deliveries.
You can get more detailed information from the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute at 1.866.622.6237 (1.86NO CANCER) or by going online to www.bcpinstitute.org. Most of the debate over ObamaCare has focused too narrowly on some select issues--subsidies for abortion, the so-called public option (government health care), or coverage of illegal immigrants.
These are important questions, to be sure, but they’re only three of the hundreds of reasons why we should resist ObamaCare. We need to see how politicized medicine is simply bad medicine. We need to understand that politics is not the best place for decisions about your health care needs. We need to encourage those doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who uphold the Hippocratic Oath. They are not working for all of society. They hold their obligation to you, their patient, as a sacred trust. Isn’t that what you really want in a health care provider?
Katie Rhymes for Health Care 'Reform'
Thursday, November 26, 2009
CBS "news anchor" Katie Couric recently whipped out her "reporter's notebook" and closed her newscast with a pro-"health care reform" poem:
"Twas just weeks before Christmas, and what do you know? Senate Democrats are once again praying for Snowe.
"They won 60 votes to start the debate, but they're back to square one ... and they just have to wait.
"Wait for blue dogs like Nelson and Lincoln ... who say a public option would mean the economy sinkin'.
"Wait for Joe Lieberman ... who says it won't pass ... and hope Mary Landrieu can change her mind fast.
"The Republican votes right now total zero ... but a trigger could make one woman a hero.
"The moderate who hails from the land way up north ... could save Harry Reid's Christmas with a deal she brought forth ... urging government plans for when private ones fail.
"To think: both sides happy? Can both sides prevail?
"At this point no compromise looms within sight ... that means after Thanksgiving ... it's on with the fight.
"Enjoy your turkey and know we'll be here ... to help make this tough topic ... just a little more clear."
Good grief! What a relief that we have nonpartisan "journalists" like Couric to help us navigate this "tough topic."
Couric's "poem" explicitly supports "health care reform." She clearly wants the sides to come together and produce something. She never questions the presumed need for "reform," much less suggests it wrong -- indeed unconstitutional -- for the federal government to take money from taxpayer A and give it to B (who may or may not be a taxpayer or, for that matter, even a citizen) because B lacks health insurance.
President Barack Obama promises to reject any health care "reform" that "adds one dime" to the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office, nonpartisan and generally respected by both sides of the aisle, estimates that the health care plan now under debate in the Senate would, indeed, achieve this objective.
In the classic Mel Brooks comedy "Blazing Saddles," the hero warns an alcoholic gunslinger, played by Gene Wilder, that if he continues to drink, he will die. To this, Wilder replies, "When?" As to the alleged "budget neutrality" and the CBO's corroborating estimate, one needs only ask, "When?"
The CBO looks at the cost of ObamaCare in the first decade. What's the problem? The spending begins in 2013. But the ObamaCare "revenue" -- from taxes and supposed cuts in Medicare -- begins right away. So for four years, money comes in and builds up, with none going out. For the next six years, "revenues" continue, but then payouts begin.
By limiting the cost estimate of ObamaCare to only its first decade, we -- voila! -- achieve Obama's objective of not adding a "dime" to the deficit. The following decade and the decades beyond are when ObamaCare blasts off toward deficit-exploding costs, not even remotely "paid for."
Today the number of viewers watching nightly network news shows continues to decline, but Couric's "CBS Evening News" broadcast still attracts some 6 million daily viewers. And CBS works very closely with the influential New York Times. What appears on the front page of the Times often finds its way into the CBS newscast that evening. The two organizations even do joint polling. While the Times considers itself a nonpartisan conveyer of news, its editorial page inevitably sides with liberal, pro-Democratic Party positions on virtually every issue of significance.
President Barack Obama owes his election, in no small part, to the major media's cheerleading on his behalf. "Reporters" favor government-provided universal health care, Big Government and the corresponding belief that government exists to "redistribute" money and goods to the "deserving" -- in essence portraying Americans as insufficiently charitable to take care of the needy without government (although this was the intention of the Founding Fathers).
The mainstream media not only are "pro-choice" on abortion but also believe that it is backed by a constitutionally protected right. Notwithstanding the election of the first black president of the United States, who defeated an odds-on favorite female contender for the nomination, the major media still believe racism and sexism remain big problems. They support "racial and ethnic and gender diversity" -- and government's use of power to achieve it. They consider peace the absence of war -- especially if the war began during a Republican administration. They have a naive trust in diplomacy even as our enemies grow more aggressive, a reluctance to recognize evil, and a respect for "world opinion" above our own national security. They consider Republicans and conservatives not just wrong but sinister.
As we "journalists" like to say, that's a wrap.