Earlier this month (“ObamaCare as a Moral Clunker”), I wrote that there are three insurmountable moral objections to the president’s and Democrats’ versions of mislabeled “health care reform”:
- They are all designed and destined to ration care. This will lead, as it has in state-run systems virtually everywhere, to long waits for even critical services. In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Harvard professor and chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers Martin Feldstein confirmed this obvious and inconvenient truth, writing that “rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan.”
- Under the idea of “Comparative Effectiveness Research” (CER), which has already been funded to the tune of over $1 billion, the inevitable and unavoidable rationing just described would more than likely be carried out under a regime of care denial driven by age-based and “quality of life” criteria. This will, formally or informally, lead to a system similar to that found in the UK, where its National Health Service, under the concept of “Quality-Adjusted Life Years” (QALY), won’t pay for medical procedures that “cost” more than $50,000 for each year of additional life expected to be gained (“cost” is in quotes because I believe that such “costs” are often overloaded with fixed overhead that largely should not be relevant to such decisions).
- The people who would be in charge of implementing a state-controlled system, which remains the objective of President Obama and Congress as long as they seek any kind of “public option” or government-managed “co-operative” set-up, have viewpoints that are ethically questionable at best and morally abhorrent at worst.
The administration appears to be trying to allay the justifiable concerns about Item 3 and seems to believe that if it can do that, Americans won’t be as worried about Items 1 and 2. Sadly, despite the worldwide track record of state-run and state-controlled systems, there is some plausibility to this strategy. Even with the vocal and growing opposition to ObamaCare as a whole, Rasmussen reports that “57% oppose the plan if it doesn’t include a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.”
This is where Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (“Zeke”), brother of President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, comes in.
Zeke has been and apparently still is chair of the Clinical Center Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, where he is still listed as an employee. I have confirmed that Zeke is still employed there. He has been with the Obama administration as health policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget since February, and is a member of the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.
Hmm. He’s a busy guy. I wonder how many taxpayer-funded income streams he receives.