Ethical Considerations

A Bioethicist’s Perspective on Health Care Reform

Read the entire essay; it’s fairly short. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Health reform is in the ethics. It will only occur if those who favor it can win the fight to recognize a right to health care. If health care is recognized as a right, then the details of how to achieve affordable health insurance reform will follow. If it is not, then efforts to move reform forward will simply die under the weight of nitpicking, fear-mongering, sloganeering, and the invocation of details as obstructions to change.

There is a foundation for rights that every American understands — equality of opportunity.

Our nation loves the free market. But you cannot compete in the free market unless you can see, hear, move, chew, think, communicate, and breathe. Health care is essential to being able to do these things. We must make sure that each one of us has minimal insurance coverage so every one can compete and flourish in a free society if we are really a nation that takes equality of opportunity seriously.

Ethical Considerations

Disturbing amendments to the Baucus Health Bill


Under current law, religious people who object to medical care may have some “spiritual care” covered by Medicare and Medicaid, including reimbursement for payments that Christian Scientists make to members of the Church who pray for them when they are ill. Numerous children have died while receiving this “spiritual care,” when modern science could easily have saved their lives. The Hatch-Kerry Amendment [Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Kerry (D-Mass.)] would make a bad situation even worse. It would expand such practices and require all private and public health plans to cover “spiritual care,” whether or not the individual has religious objections to medical care.

Let me get this straight – current health care plans can choose NOT to cover mental health services but they’re paying for prayer?

We also oppose an amendment by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), which would allow doctors to deny patients any care or information that violates the doctor’s religious beliefs. This violation of medical ethics is labeled with the Orwellian term “Conscience Clause.” This amendment cruelly places the religious beliefs of practitioners such as pharmacists above the medical needs of patients.

The Hippocratic Oath clearly says “Do No Harm” not “Dictate to Thy Patient His or Her Care According to Your Religious Beliefs”

It threatens access to contraception, end-of-life care, HIV care, and any other care to which a health provider objects. It would also allow health care providers to withhold information from patients about their health care status and their treatment options, in violation of informed consent and ethical standards.

And why am I not surprised by the following:

Lastly, we object to an amendment by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), requesting that funding for Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs be restored. Congress has already wasted $1.5 billion on such programs since 1996, despite the fact that there is no evidence that abstinence-only programs have been effective in stopping or even delaying teen sex. Numerous studies, including a 10-year government-funded evaluation of the Title V abstinence-only program, found that these programs do not delay sexual initiation and have no beneficial impact on young people’s sexual behavior.

Yes, let’s continue to waste tax money on programs that DO NOT WORK just to curry favor with the segment of our population that would rather keep its young people ignorant. Brilliant.

Ethical Considerations

Better Healthcare Through Rationing (not my title)

.. and not my article…

Just a reminder that we already DO ration, only it’s being done by insurance company bean counters.

One commenter said that doctors/physicians can’t ration, the hippocratic oath and all. But in truth, they do ration. See my prior blog post on the 84 year old who just had a kidney transplant. Many transplant centers refused to do the procedure. That, uninformed commenter, is physician-based rationing.


Health Care Hooey…

I’m very disturbed by the screaming, cussing and name calling occurring at these so-called Town Hall meetings about Obama’s proposed health care reform bill. While I applaud folks’ anger, their choice of expression is disrespectful and unproductive. Worse, much of what they’re screaming about is false, gleened from some pandering talking head as opposed to real journalism (not that there’s much left of that these days, it seems).

I don’t have an opinion on the bill in its entirety. I haven’t read it, the versions differ in the House and Senate, and I suspect there will be much whittling before a final form is developed. But I am a champion for the truth (which is why practically every sentence at has a notation behind it. The public is so mislead about living donation that they refuse to believe the reality unless the source material is readily available. Too bad the same does not apply here).

Anyway, here’s a White House ‘Reality Check’:

And if you don’t believe them, read the dang bills for yourself.


Broken Healthcare – other opinions

From ZDnet, Alex Rivlin, CEO of InsureMonkey lists his five reasons healthcare is broken.