Normally, this page tries to focus on the news and issues affecting and influencing our lives on our little slice of paradise.
But lately, the talk of the day, at every turn, at every event, is Washington.
Palpable and visible are the fear and consternation in Americans whose bedrock values are God and freedom. They cannot believe what they hear, what they read, what they see.
Never, ever did any of our septuagarian or octogenarian friends imagine that one day the U.S. government would own 50% of General Motors! Never!
So it is that this page has turned to the larger scale and picture with “Live Free or Die,” an ongoing series intended to illuminate and warn you about the blitzkrieg in Washington to eradicate your freedoms.
Last week, you may remember, we cited the four-legged thrust of the Obama administration: to take over the flow of money, energy, health care and education.
This week we hope to enlighten you more on the upcoming takeover of health care. It’s all the talk.
Don’t ignore it.
In all of the discussions about to occur in Congress and with President Obama about “reforming” health care, all you need to realize is if they get their way, the result will be this: Your government, headed by some faceless National Board of Health, ultimately will put a price tag on the value of everyone’s life and decide who will receive medical care, how much and when.
This is rationing. This is your government playing God — deciding who lives and who doesn’t.
This is the way it is in Canada and the United Kingdom.
To be sure, the Democrats and Obama administration will babble in government-speak about choice and options. But this is just foreplay.
If the United States is to move to a single-payer, government-controlled, health-care system, the undeniable truth is there is not enough money in the world to pay for all of the medical care to which every
American would expect to be entitled. Winners and losers will be chosen.
Consider the United Kingdom. Stephen Pollard, a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe, presented a sobering account of the effects of what is known as NICE in the United Kingdom.As Pollard wrote for the Fraser Institute in 2006:
“There is a golden rule in public policy: the name of a body is, almost always, the exact opposite of its real effect on the world. The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence, known as NICE, is a typical example of this phenomenon. Hailed by the Labour government, which set it up in April 1999, as a means of promoting excellence across the National Health Service, its real effect — one might say its real purpose — has been rather different: to restrict the variety of treatments available to patients. Not so much NICE, in other words, as NASTY: Not Available, So Treat Yourself.
“NICE’s creators argued that it would ensure that all patients would receive access to the best medicines.
By examining the effectiveness of different treatments, NICE would be able to issue guidance to doctors across all of Britain, ensuring up-to-date knowledge of the latest research and that the most effective medicines are used on patients.
“It sounds wonderful in theory. But the practice is rather different. In reality, these decisions are not about widening the range of treatments but narrowing them; not increasing the options but restricting them. They are, in short, designed to ration health care, and to do so in the most misleading manner possible — on the pretext of rationality.”
Pollard’s article (http://www.fraserinstitute.org/Commerce.Web/product_files/NICEisNasty.pdf) factually reports example after example of how Britons are denied medical care and pharmaceuticals because of decisions and value judgments made by NICE — people performing as God.
Consider this chilling reality:
“NICE decided to restrict the availability of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease to those already with full-blown symptoms, rather than making it available in the disease’s early stages,” Pollard wrote. “One of NICE’s apologists, Prof. Alan Maynard, put it this way in the Financial Times: with Alzheimer’s drugs costing £2.50 a day per patient — some £70m a year in total … “Just think how many hip replacements and instant cardiac catheterizations you can do for that money; treatments that make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Winners and losers determined by a government board. That’s our future in the United States.
The forces for this are already lined up. Rick Scott, founder of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, told us this week that Congress — unbeknown to most Americans — already approved in one of the bailout bills the formation of a national health-care board, the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.
You can be sure that no matter what this board’s original intent is to be, this will become our version of NICE. It will become the nucleus of central health-care planning and distribution, aka socialized medicine.
Obama and congressional Democrats aren’t the only ones pushing this. Scott says the American Medical Association supports single-payer health care, as do the nation’s hospitals (although many won’t admit it). Insurance companies, too, will be complicit. Scott says an insurance industry lobbyist in Washington told him recently the industry is ready to “work with” Congress. Translation: get its share of the pie.
There’s only one hope: You, the American consumer.
If we are to preserve our most revered national value — freedom, including freedom of choice in health care — consumers must speak up. And the first step is to slow down the debate in Washington. Insist on a full airing of the choices and consequences.
This will take extraordinary will power to stop. Think of what you cherish: your health and your freedom.
HOW TO STOP IT
Discussions are already under way in earnest in congressional and White House circles about how to “reform” American health care to a single-payer, socialized system.
Here are steps you can take to influence the outcome:
1. Help Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. Founded by Naples resident Rick Scott, former chairman and CEO of Columbia/HCA, CPR has become a leading grassroots advocate for the four pillars of patients’ rights: choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility. Go to CPR’s Web site, www.cprights.org or call 877–330–4CPR.
2. Contact U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida. With Democrats overwhelmingly dominating the House, Republican House members will have little influence stopping legislation. It must be stopped in the Senate.
Nelson is a Democratic populist. Even though he is a partisan Democrat, if Floridians overwhelm with opposition to the Obama health-care system, Nelson will protect his re-election first. Bombard him with calls, letters and e-mails.
16 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
801 N. Florida Ave.
Tampa, Fla. 33602
In case you missed Chris Wallace’s important interview Sunday on Fox News with Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, one of our fans in Palm Coast sent us his transcript of what he heard Summers say in his plain-spoken, Truman-talk on what’s ahead for the economy and how President Obama is addressing the nation’s economic needs:
“We need to provide support due to the failure of the infrastructure in a strong effort to contain the economic services and situations as a result of the mixed turn of events, not including the free fall of the inherited market.
“It is encouraging, however, to see the forward steps to persevere in our endeavor to benefit everyone, the foundation, enduring and viable, does require successful negotiations, as you never know the important monitoring in support of the range of stakeholders.
“Responsibility and accountability are vital to this president to focus on the fiat and circumstances, providing a change in our legal form to protect jobs, community and continuing to move forward using judgment of multiple contingencies.
“The American Dream of recognizing patterns of unemployment, the steep declines which experience suggests should lead to strong policies and measures. The impact, according to a consensus of forecasters, is an indicator of shipment and car loading just ahead.
“All this requires correction of an imbalance of impetus and timing with substantial command if we apply proper trust and confidence and take appropriate steps on our path to confinement working to get legislation, computer systems and leadership into the community quickly, strategic advice and ethics notwithstanding divestment, policy matters in specially trained conflicts of interest.
“It is clear that this president has raised the bar, working very hard on the American Dream, tremendously responsible parameters literally beyond the pale without politicizing Capitol Hill.”
We are truly in good hands. — Ed.
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Did you notice a familiar name in the February issue of Southern Living magazine?
Packing on team spirit
No one can accuse of Diane Chechik of not representing her team, the Green Bay Packers.
Sarasota on the social map
… Well, we already knew that, right? Now apparently all of New York knows how wonderful our slice of paradise is, too.