Two articles from the August 6, 2009 edition of “American Thinker” provide further insight into why ObamaCare must not become law.

"ObamaCare and Me,"
by Zane F. Pollard, MD

details the physician's experience with government-run health care and the reasons he opposes ObamaCare.

I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.

First off the government has involved very few of us physicians in the healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.

I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list.

Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms, which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was sent in immediately via fax, and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye.

Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved list.
Get the point -- rationing of care.

Over the past 35 years I have cared for over 1000 children born with congenital cataracts. In older children and in adults the vision is rehabilitated with an intraocular lens. In newborns we use contact lenses which are very expensive. It takes Medicaid over one year to approve a contact lens post cataract surgery. By that time a successful anatomical operation is wasted as the child will be close to blind from a lack of focusing for so long a period of time.

Again, extreme rationing. Solution: I have a foundation here in Atlanta supported 100% by private funds which supplies all of these contact lenses for my Medicaid and illegal immigrants children for free. Again, waiting for the government would be disastrous.

...For those of you who are over 65, this bill in its present form might be lethal for you. People in England over 59 cannot receive stents for their coronary arteries. The government wants to mimic the British plan. For those of you younger, it will still mean restriction of the care that you and your children receive.

While 99% of physicians went into medicine because of the love of medicine and the challenge of helping our fellow man, economics are still important. My rent goes up 2% each year and the salaries of my employees go up 2% each year. Twenty years ago, ophthalmologists were paid $1800 for a cataract surgery and today $500. This is a 73% decrease in our fees. I do not know of many jobs in America that have seen this sort of lowering of fees.

But there is more to the story than just the lower fees. When I came to Atlanta, there was a well known ophthalmologist that charged $2500 for a cataract surgery as he felt the was the best. He had a terrific reputation and in fact I had my mother's bilateral cataracts operated on by him with a wonderful result. She is now 94 and has 20/20 vision in both eyes. People would pay his $2500 fee.

However, then the government came in and said that any doctor that does Medicare work cannot accept more than the going rate ( now $500) or he or she would be severely fined. This put an end to his charging $2500. The government said it was illegal to accept more than the government-allowed rate. What I am driving at is that
those of you well off will not be able to go to the head of the line under this new healthcare plan, just because you have money, as no physician will be willing to go against the law to treat you.

...We are being lied to about the uninsured. They are getting care. I operate on at least 2 illegal immigrants each month who pay me nothing, and the children's hospital at which I operate charges them nothing also. This is true not only on Atlanta, but of every community in America.

The bottom line is that I urge all of you to contact your congresswomen and congressmen and senators to defeat this bill.
I promise you that you will not like rationing of your own health.

Furthermore, how can you trust a physician that works under these conditions knowing that he is controlled by the state. I certainly could not trust any doctor that would work under these draconian conditions.

One last thing: with this new healthcare plan there will be a tremendous shortage of physicians. It has been estimated that approximately 5% of the current physician work force will quit under this new system. Also it is estimated that another 5% shortage will occur because of the decreased number of men and women wanting to go into medicine.

The average career of a woman in medicine now is only 8-10 years and the average work week for a female in medicine is only 3-4 days. I have now trained 35 fellows in pediatric ophthalmology. Hands down the best was a female that I trained 4 years ago--she was head and heels above all others I have trained. She now practices only 3 days a week.


"ObamaCare's Poison Pill,"
by Linda Halderman, MD

Three House committees just choked down the bitter pill of a compromise version of a healthcare reform bill, HR 3200. But for vulnerable patients -- and taxpayers -- the cure may be worse than the disease.

Problematic policy recommendations by proponents of rationing and socializing costs may be part of why the bill is so unpalatable to opponents of government intervention in healthcare decision making.

President Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, is himself advised by Ezekiel Emanuel -- brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

In addition to serving as a Special Advisor in the Obama Administration, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is a fellow at the Hastings Center. The Hastings Center, a bioethics research center, has published articles and books on the patient's right to die, as well as promoted "Assisted Dying" policy as a component of healthcare reform.

Dr. Emanuel's June 2008 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association criticized the Hippocratic Oath as an unwelcome "imperative [for physicians] to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."

In the article, titled "The Perfect Storm of Overutilization," he instead encourages a "move toward more socially sustainable, cost-effective care."

This philosophy of "socially sustainable care" for older Americans is reflected in nine pages of the bill devoted to a description of a new Medicare benefit: "Advance Care Planning Consultation."

Concerns with these provisions (quoted below from pages 425-434 of HR 3200) have been dismissed as spin and minimized by the Administration and supporters of the bill.

HR 3200 describes what a private discussion between a patient and doctor should include: "an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services...and an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment" with "the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes."

The discussion of end of life choices would be further detailed by the federal government to address an individual's desire for "the intensity of medical intervention if the patient is pulseless, apneic, or has serious cardiac or pulmonary problems" and whether or not the individual will allow "the use of antibiotics" or "artificially administered nutrition and hydration."

The President refuses to say if he specifically supports Medicare reimbursement for end of life counseling sessions or the wisdom of allowing the federal government to dictate the content of medical discussions. According to his aides, he is unconcerned that such reimbursement might lead to government interference in life or death decisions about health care.

Also informing healthcare policy is Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for the Obama Administration's new Health Information Technology $19 billion bureaucracy. Dr. Blumenthal is the author of "Controlling Health Care Expenditures," published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 8, 2001 (pages 495-498).

In the same article, Dr. Blumenthal extols the virtues of government cost controls for healthcare, though he concedes the inevitable result of this intrusion into patient-doctor decision making: "Longer waits for elective procedures and reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices."

Very scary!!!