NewsTue Aug 11, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST
Palin Firestorm Brings Fresh Scrutiny to ObamaCare “Death Panels”
By Peter J. Smith
WASILLA, Alaska, August 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ignited a firestorm over the weekend by calling the health-care reforms pushed by President Barack Obama "downright evil" for proposals that could usher in rationing, and turn federal health boards into "death panels" that would decide whether the elderly and the disabled, like her infant Down's syndrome son, Trig, were "worthy of health-care." Palin's provocative statements, however, have brought fresh scrutiny of the dangers of the proposed "Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission," if it were to adopt guidelines of a "Complete Lives System" advocated by Obama's policy advisor on health care reform, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.
Many Americans have flocked to town-hall meetings to protest what they see as the imminent government-takeover of the health-care industry, which makes up one-sixth of the total American economy. But more and more Americans revolting at Congress's health-care reforms have expressed fears for the health-care of the elderly and disabled, whom they fear will be victims of rationing and even passive euthanasia by way of the "advance care planning consultation" provisions featured on pages 424 - 443 of HR 3200, "the American Affordable Health Choices Act."
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil," said Palin communicating through her Facebook page, which has over 715,000 subscribers.
Although the White House and members of the mainstream media rushed to dismiss Palin's statement as "nuts," the threat of the government insurance plan becoming a "death panel" for the weakest members of society may not be far off the mark. ABC News recently reported that the Oregon Health Plan refused to cover cancer drugs that cost $4000 per a month for Barbara Wagner, a 64 year-old terminally ill patient with lung cancer. Instead they offered to give her a one-time prescription for lethal drugs to end her life, which would cost the state health provider only $50.
Palin attacked the promise of Congressional Democrats that the government plan would reduce the cost of health care, saying "as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost."
"Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion," concluded Palin.
But Palin pointed out the enormous danger for federal health boards becoming "death panels" through a policy of rationing, esp. by following the policy proposed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an issue first raised by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Emanuel is a key advisor of Obama's health care reform as health-policy adviser at the White House's Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research. A member of the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Bioethics Council and brother to Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, he advocates "The Complete Lives System," which as he described in a Jan. 31, 2009 article, "prioritizes younger people who have not yet lived a complete life."
Emanuel's approach has five principles which he lays out in "Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions" published on January 31, 2009: "youngest first, prognosis, save most lives, lottery, instrumental value."
"When the worst-off can benefit only slightly, while the better-off could benefit greatly, allocating to the better off is often justifiable," wrote Emanuel.
He continued that the CLS discrimination based on age is not "invidious discrimination" because "everyone who is 65 years now was once 25 years." But in the CLS, care would also be rationed away from young people with a "poor prognoses" because they lack "the potential to live a complete life." (Read here)
Emanuel has also stated that doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, and stated that "Savings [in the medical industry] will require changing how doctors think about their patients" in a 2008 article written for the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a separate 1996 article for the Hastings Center Report, Emanuel spoke about rationing care away from those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens" to the non-disabled, adding "An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."
Approximately 33 percent of medical spending occurs in the final year of a patient's life, and throughout the legislation (HR 3200), enormous pressures are put upon on physicians and medical professionals to incentivize them to cut costs.
While Emanuel’s approach, as published in the Lancet, is a theoretical approach to rationing, a practical concern is raised when one considers that either private insurers or the public option could integrate CLS into their rationing practices, if they are included among treatment protocols developed and promoted through the proposed Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research and the Commission that oversees its work (sec. 1401 of HR 3200), under the Executive Branch.
The Center’s duties would be “to conduct, support, and synthesize research … with respect to the outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically.”
Opponents, especially at tumultuous town-halls, have expressed fears that current provisions in the bill for government-run health-care could lead to doctors thinking of the bottom line first, could end up pressuring patients through "advanced care planning consultations" (sec. 1233) into accepting lower-quality care or care they do not want, out of a feeling that they pose some kind of burden on their families or society. Under that section in the version under discussion by the House Ways and Means Committee, doctors would formulate with patients end-of-life orders, regarding their desire to continue or discontinue antibiotic treatments or nutrition and hydration under particular circumstances.
Read H.R. 3200 "American Affordable Choices Act"
Read more on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel in New York Post "Deadly Doctors"
Read Ezekiel Emanuel's article on Complete Lives System
Read related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.