Human Exceptionalism

Post Obama Health Care Power Grab America: Fantasy Land Advice About Being a Good Medical Consumer

In “Help for Navigating Health Care,” San Francisco Chronicle reporter Victoria Colliver interviews a woman named Adrianna Boden, who had a difficult medical experience, and offers tips on being a good medical consumer. From the story:

The Empowered Healthcare Community, formed by a Google employee and a San Francisco dentist, offers these tips to navigating the health care system:

— Have a health advocate. Make sure someone helps you through your medical crisis, especially if you are hospitalized.

— No news is not necessarily good news. Check on your test results if you don’t hear from the doctor.

— A second – or third or fourth – opinion is appropriate at any time during your treatment, not just in the early stages of diagnosis. A doctor who does not appreciate other opinions might not be your best choice for a provider.

— Be aware that federal law guarantees patients access to their medical records. All patients have a right to copies of their records, and they should make it a practice to ask for a copy of everything.

— Always check your medications for drug interactions. A good tool can be found through the Physicians’ Desk Reference at pdrhealth.com.

— If you need surgery, find out information about your hospital at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site at hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

— If you are having surgery, ask your hospital to use the World Health Organization surgical checklist.

What a fantasy. I am not saying this isn’t good advice. (Indeed, I wrote many of the same things back in 1989 in my The Doctor Book: A Nuts and Bolts Guide to Patient Power. But back then, pharmacists had the time to actually ask you questions about medications and act as a fail safe against adverse drug interactions, and people had ready access to specialists as well as second and third opinions without having to maneuver through bureaucratic roadblocks.) I am saying that with the Obama health care power grab we are about to have imposed upon us undemocratically, that wise actions like second and third opinions and telling the hospital to use the World Health Organization Checklist will be near pipe dreams. We are heading into a system where patients have little control–except, of course to “choose” to die–in which utilitarian bioethicists and faceless bureaucrats make all the big decisions for us.

Further proving my theory that the Left is about power and not freedom, the American Journal of Bioethics blog thinks that the Obama power grab via a procedural maneuver around democratic debate is just peachy keen. You see to the Left, democracy doesn’t really matter. Getting what they want is almost all that matters. Unprincipled, but totally expected.

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