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Dr. Orwell Will See You Now

Don’t be fooled by their health care Newspeak.

by
Paul Hsieh

Bio

May 21, 2012 - 12:02 am
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The New England Journal of Medicine adopted a similar Orwellian tactic, when it argued that policymakers avoid the word “rationing” when discussing government-driven restrictions of medical care to cut costs. Instead, they should couch such restrictions in terms of “frugality.” But this terminology obscures a critical distinction. “Frugality” is when people are prudent about spending their own resources for themselves. If you decide steak is too expensive and you instead purchase chicken, that’s being frugal. But if the government limits how much meat you can purchase each week, that’s rationing.

Similarly, Medicare officials are considering rebranding the government-run insurance “exchanges” under ObamaCare as “marketplaces.” Medicare communications director Julie Bataille explained, “Words like ‘marketplace’ resonate much more with the consumer.”

However, a true marketplace is when consumers can freely purchase goods and services (or not) from sellers without compulsion

In contrast, ObamaCare will push many employers to stop offering private health insurance. Instead, employers will dump their employees onto the government-run exchanges where they must purchase insurance on government terms at government prices. Calling these mandatory purchases a “marketplace” is like calling it a “negotiation” when the Godfather makes you “an offer you can’t refuse.”

A final example of deceptive language is politicians’ constant talk of providing “coverage” for all Americans. But there’s an enormous difference between theoretical “coverage” and actual medical care. Patients in Canada and the UK all have “coverage,” but they must often wait weeks or months for services such as MRI scans or chemotherapy that Americans can receive within days.

One of the methods ObamaCare attempts to guarantee “universal coverage” is by expanding Medicaid. But as the New York Times reported, Medicaid patients often have a difficult time receiving care because Medicaid pays doctors and hospitals so poorly (typically well below the cost of the service provided). As one patient said about her Medicaid card, “It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

Under ObamaCare, “coverage” does not equal care. It’s like having a cellphone plan, which promises “coverage” for your area, but never gives you a decent signal.

The Obama administration can’t fix the actual substance of their health plan. Hence, their strategy is to obfuscate its problems with deceptive language and hope that voters don’t catch on. If you value your lives, don’t be fooled by their health care Newspeak. Otherwise, you may soon be getting your medical care from Dr. Orwell.

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Paul Hsieh, MD, is a member of the Colorado chapter of Docs4PatientCare (www.Docs4PatientCare.org) and co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (www.WeStandFIRM.org).
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