Obamacare mandates “An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.”
Obamacare also mandates “training for health care professionals across the continuum of care about the goals and use of orders for life sustaining treatment”
So under Obamacare professionals will be taught the goals of life sustaining treatment and then be expected to regularly consult with their patients about the continuum of end-of-life services available including palliative care. Palliative care is medical care that focuses on reducing the symptoms of a disease rather than attempting to cure or delay the progression of the disease.
You’re old, but you’re not yet ready to die. Or, perhaps you have pancreatic cancer, but you wish to fight as long as possible. You’ll have meetings with authoritative professionals who will advise you on “end-of-life” services. Can we imagine how such a meeting may go? Would statements like, At this point we’re just prolonging the inevitable, We can make you comfortable, and I know this is hard for you and your family, be used? Such words could be taken as, You’re a burden to your family, Stop prolonging the inevitable and Just take the pain pills.
End-of-life treatment is a tricky thing. All treatments need to be on the table, but do we want to create a system where all the incentives encourage death? The reality is that the elderly are the greatest cost burden on our health care system. Is it really impossible to imagine that when a single payer system is in place, and they are desperately looking for cost cutting measures, a general disdain will take hold for those elderly folks who choose to hang on to life? The only real solution to this problem, that doesn’t result in resentment of the elderly, is a system that drives down health care costs, while maintaining the quality of services. This can only happen when real competition is allowed to take place, but that isn’t what Obamacare creates.
Obamacare all but guarantees a future in which everyone is under the federal government managed health care system. A system without market forces driving innovation or cost savings. Instead cost savings will be dependent on a handful of bureaucrats. We’ve seen this top down management system fail in the former soviet union and it will fail here as well. A bureaucracy will never be as efficient or effective as the market and that is demonstrated by our rising health care costs. Vested union interests and bureaucrats will burden an already bulky system and further increase the cost of care. Redundancy will build up and, like every other government program, they will continue to petition congress for more funds. If government was actually competent, they would occasionally come in under budget. But that’s not how government works.
Health insurance in the United States can be better. We already have the best quality health care; the problems are in the areas of cost and insurance coverage. Insufficient coverage of course being directly related, in part, to cost. Therefore the first goal of any reform should be the reduction in health care costs. This can only happen if market forces are introduced through consumer empowerment. Unfortunately Obamacare kills competition in the long run and will undermine the forces behind medical breakthroughs and innovation. Change is needed, but Obamacare is change for the worse.