Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: “At What Cost?”

I wrote a quick piece in the wake of Obamacare’s passage for To The Source, in which I predicted dire developments.  From my article:

For now, Obamacare preserves a private financing system—no public option. Nonetheless, it still represents a government takeover of healthcare. By eliminating risk assessment–and seizing control of benefit determinations—government bureaucrats will now choose winners and losers. Because we are all now ensconced in the same closed system, we each now have a direct financial stake in the health care received by every other one of us.

Government control is, by definition, intensely political. Politically powerful “in crowds” are rarely denied what they want, while “out crowds” may be excluded altogether. The same will be true in health care.

I write of events along these lines that have and are happening in Europe. I then warn:

Medically vulnerable patients should now be very afraid because the sheer heft of government–and the even greater weight of culture–are going to shift against them. Again, Europe provides the model. Some countries—Sweden, the UK, for example—are seriously considering or already beginning to limit health care to people with unhealthy lifestyles, smokers, the obese, and to those who are deemed to have a low quality of life, the elderly and those with cognitive impairments.

That same impetus will emerge and strengthen here as time passes. Because what happens medically to each of our neighbors will directly impact us, “suspect” classes–those who are expensive to “maintain”—will emerge and come to be perceived with a less compassionate and inclusive eye by the healthy and able bodied.

Indeed, public expectations about how to best care for seriously ill and disabled people will change, and a subtle idea will grow that they no longer really belong. This could lead to the “duty to die”—already under active debate in bioethics literature.

I discuss the potential impact on assisted suicide, and conclude:

The nuts and bolts of this dehumanizing system will be created primarily outside the spotlight of representative democracy in the tens of thousands of pages of rules that will now be promulgated by federal bureaucrats to effectuate Obamacare—including the extent of abortion coverage required in insurance plans and which life-extending or sustaining treatments will be refused coverage. Those with the most input in this process will be so-called “stakeholders,” that is non profit groups that advocate for affected people. And that–along with the courts–is to where the brunt of the battle over the sanctity of life in health care will now shift.

There is much work to do in a short period. No time to dawdle.  What we can’t repeal, we must direct toward a life-affirming embrace of the intrinsic sanctity and equal dignity of all human life.