With the admission that the Senate is for sure going to miss the August deadline for a vote on health insurance reform, it's looking certain that any final action on reform is going to last into October or possibly November. Which is a pity, because it means there will be that many more days in which I will have to knock down the misinformation, confusion, and deliberate mendacity of those who are opposed to reform. The reigning champion, by the way, is Betsy McCaughey, (the lady on the right with the SCARY TEETH) who seems to make her living by lying about health care. Seriously, she has got to be the least credible voice out there, which is why the WSJ op-ed page keeps going back to her every time they want to spread FUD. (Note to her publicists: you can stop sending me press releases every time she publishes something new. I'm on the other team.)
So, just for the record, here's the fisking of her latest hackery, published today:
GovernmentCare’s Assault on Seniors. - WSJ.com
H.R. 3200 and the Senate Health Committee Bill—will reduce access to care, pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely, and doom baby boomers to painful later years.Yes. In fact, the original name of the bill was the "Make Old People eat Cat Food Act of 2009," but they didn't like the acronym. Moving on:
The Congressional majority wants to pay for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health bills with new taxes and a $500 billion cut to Medicare."Cut." Nice. We call it savings, but "cuts" sound scarier, don't they? Which is funny because isn't a common criticism of Medicare that it's too expensive/bankrupt/inefficient? Which is it? Should we
The assault against seniors began with the stimulus package in February. Slipped into the bill was substantial funding for comparative effectiveness research, which is generally code for limiting care based on the patient’s age.Really? Damn, my decrypter must be broken, because I thought CER meant finding which treatments were most effective so doctors could make the best choices in providing efficient, effective care to patients.
In Britain, the formula leads to denying treatments for older patients who have fewer years to benefit from care than younger patients.Every single ER doc I know despairs when we see the 90-year-old demented nursing home patient come in septic and in multi-organ system failure with family members insisting that "everything" be done. Some people are unable to admit when care is futile, and nobody wants to be the bad guy and say "no more," when families (or patients) are requesting inappropriate care. Betsy McCaughey apparently believes that we never will need to confront these hard choices, or that when we do, we are better served not knowing what the best options are.
White House budget chief Peter Orszag urged Congress to delegate its authority over Medicare to a newly created body within the executive branch. This measure is designed to circumvent the democratic process and avoid accountability to the public for cuts in benefits.You hear that? Peter Orszag is the bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor! Damn. I had Kathleen Sebelius in the office pool.
Oh, and by the way, primary care doctors SUCK ASS:
The House bill shifts resources from specialty medicine to primary care based on the misconception that Americans overuse specialist care and drive up costs in the process. In fact, heart-disease patients treated by generalists instead of specialists are often misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. They are readmitted to the hospital more frequently, and die sooner.See, those silly liberals think that uninsured people need family doctors! It turns out all we needed were more electrophysiologists! And oculoplastic surgeons. And endoscopic urologists. etc, etc, etc. No disrespect to the specialists, but this is just insulting to PCPs. And it's straight out of Bizarro World to suggest that primary care is not in need of more support. This line of argument alone should disqualify Ms McCaughey from ever being taken seriously as a health policy commentator.
While the House bill being pushed by the president reduces access to such cures and specialists, it ensures that seniors are counseled on end-of-life options, including refusing nutrition where state law allows it. In Oregon, some cancer patients are being denied care by the state that could extend their lives and instead are afforded the benefit of physician-assisted suicide instead.This paragraph is simply a work of art. Nowhere is there any supporting evidence for the claim that access is reduced -- I assume it's implied in the emphasis on primary care? But it's beautifully linked to the implication that OBAMA is going PERSONALLY SMOTHER YOUR GRANDMOTHER WITH HER HOSPITAL PILLOW. Actually, it's worse; he's going to stand there and smoke a cigarette while he FORCES HER TO SMOTHER HERSELF.
The harshest misconception underlying the legislation is that living longer burdens society. Medicare data prove this is untrue. A patient who dies at 67 spends three times as much on health care at the end of life as a patient who lives to 90.Hmm. Possibly. Of course the medicare data ususally looks at the "last three years" of life. So that hypothetical 90-year-old who has the courtesy to die on the cheap, unfortunately, lived an extra 20 years longer and probably consumed a lot of medical care during that time. (This is, by the way, the reason Obama wants to smother your grandmother - to save money.)
This article really is a classic. It distorts the actual facts of the health care proposals, flat out makes up shit about primary care, scares the living bejeezus out of baby boomers gullible enough to think the WSJ Op-Ed page is as credible as the rest of the WSJ, and finishes with a modest propsal to fix everything by (wait for it) reducing access by increasing the eligibility age!
Ms McCaughey's opposition to Comparative Effectiveness Research, by the way, should in no way be assumed to be related to the fact that she is a current and former board member and still being compensated by medical device makers who stand to lose millions of dollars if their pricey devices were judged to be less effective than less-expensive therapies. No way, sirree. Nothing to see here, now move along....