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Rationing or death panels?

Posted By Barbara Simpson On 04/08/2012 @ 4:39 pm In Commentary | No Comments

Did you hear the one about the British woman who was told to find another doctor because of her “carbon footprint” and “green traveling issues?”

No, it’s not a joke.

Well, actually, it is – but it’s also the truth.

Avril Mulcahy received a letter from her doctor’s office, where she’s been patient for 30 years. The letter expressed concern for her health but had more concern for green issues and gave her just 28 days to find another doctor closer to her home. Her regular physician would be dropping her at that point.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the letter did send Ms. Mulcahy “our best wishes for the future.”

As for her reaction: She’s appalled, since she lives just one mile from the medical clinic. Concern about the carbon footprint of her travel to the medical office sounds more than suspicious. Ms. Mulcahy says dumping her as a patient is more likely retaliation for her recent complaint about her doctor, for which she’s been essentially ignored.

The official reaction to the publicity about the incident? The head of customer service for NHS said anyone with concerns about local care should contact liaison services.

Oh.

What’s bad enough about this is that the “system” in the U.K., which encompasses all aspects of medical care, felt confident enough about its “power” over individuals that it would use the ruse of “carbon footprints” and “green issues” to end medical care for an 83-year-old woman and essentially disrupt her life.

She’s just a cog in the wheel and an expendable one at that.

Do you think it will be any different when (if) Obamacare kicks in, full speed, on unsuspecting Americans?

We may not be at the point of measuring our health care needs in terms of the carbon-footprint of getting to and from the doctor’s office, but we’re already on the road to reducing some of those trips – trips that heretofore have been considered medically necessary.

No, it’s not a joke.

Well, actually, it is – but it’s also the truth.

Remember back in 2009 when it was reported that women should not have annual mammograms – they just weren’t necessary to diagnose that too often fatal disease. After years of harping on the necessity of the screening for a baseline and then annual or biannual follow-up screenings for early diagnosis of breast cancer, suddenly, it all changed.

Tell that to the millions of women who were diagnosed early, were treated and lived to tell about it.

After the uproar quieted down, they did it again. It was announced that men don’t need regular, routine prostate cancer tests. Again, we were told that it wasn’t necessary, was “overkill” so to speak in the effort to diagnose prostate cancer.

Tell that to the millions of men who were diagnosed early, were treated and lived to tell about it.

Tell that also to the families of men who had the test, were diagnosed and ultimately died of the disease.

But the system was just testing the waters, and now they’ve hit us with the big guns.

An advisory was issued by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, listing 45 tests and procedures that need to be reduced, limited or eliminated because they are redundant, unnecessary and cost too much money. The New York Times reports at least eight other specialty boards are issuing their lists of so-called “unnecessary/dangerous” procedures.

The suggestions range from limiting mammography, prostate cancer tests, colonoscopies, bone scans, EKGs, even antibiotics for sinus infections.

Moment of truth here: I do get sinus infections and too often. The only thing that helps is an antibiotic. I want my doctor to make that decision with me, not some remote medical board operating from an impersonal list telling doctors what to do or not do.

My OB/GYN told me, a few years ago, about another patient she’d had who had symptoms that indicated a rare cancer, normally only seen in older women. This patient was in her late twenties.

The doctor ordered the test, but the insurance company wouldn’t cover it because the patient was “too young.” The doctor was furious, appealed the decision and wouldn’t give in until the test was finally approved.

The young patient did have cancer.

The mentality of that insurance company will be what Obamacare will mandate for all of us, regardless of age or sex. It will decide what is “necessary” and/or “effective” and, I guess, if a few or more people slip through the cracks, get deadly diseases and die … well, as has been said, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

The omelet of Obamacare is to make us all the same and measured by the same so-called guidelines.

Just as we’re being prepared now, with the publication of these lists of “too frequent and unnecessary” tests, the goal is to reduce the means to diagnose and treat illnesses, often life threatening ones, often deadly killers.

But gosh, we have to save money and after all, those awful doctors just prescribe those tests to make more money or avoid lawsuits.

While those instances may happen, just remember, with government guidelines like these, no one will have the ability to sue for malpractice. The doctors and hospitals will be protected; the only ones in mortal jeopardy will be innocent patients.

And God help you if you’re an older person, like Mrs. Mulcahy, who was 83. Why do expensive tests on an old person? They’ll just die soon anyway.

As Barack Obama himself suggested, for someone like that, just give them pain pills until it’s over.

It’s less expensive and much less messy.

Thanks, Barack.

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