Thursday, August 27, 2009

ObamaCare Means Lay Down Your Life

In the competing views of health care reform, we see the fruit of different political philosophies and different moral universes. When considering the public good, Democrats think more socially whereas Republicans are more individualistic in their approach to the question. In modern times, the social trump leads in the direction of totalitarianism, an all powerful state overseeing and directing all things for what it judges to be the good of the people (or so they say). Individual sovereignty leads increasingly to a destruction of moral community. In other words, they lead to Castro's Cuba and Capra's Potterville, respectively. The Founders of our republic envisioned neither one.

Betsy McCaughey, in "Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief," shows how the social trump that neglects the importance of individual self-government and the inherent worth of every human being works its way out in the Obama administration's approach to managing scarce health care dollars from Washington instead of at the point of consumption.

It is horrifying, but at the same time revealing, that a man with this moral orientation would have such a prominent role in the formulation of our government's health care policy.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, health adviser to President Barack Obama, is under scrutiny. As a bioethicist, he has written extensively about who should get medical care, who should decide, and whose life is worth saving. Dr. Emanuel is part of a school of thought that redefines a physician’s duty, insisting that it includes working for the greater good of society instead of focusing only on a patient’s needs. Many physicians find that view dangerous, and most Americans are likely to agree.

The health bills being pushed through Congress put important decisions in the hands of presidential appointees like Dr. Emanuel. They will decide what insurance plans cover, how much leeway your doctor will have, and what seniors get under Medicare. Dr. Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, has already been appointed to two key positions: health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research. He clearly will play a role guiding the White House's health initiative.

ObamaCare gives new meaning to the call to lay down your life for your country. It gives a perverse twist to Kennedy's noble call at the end of his 1961 inaugural address: "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Of course, I would like to re-produce the entire article, but I can only encourage you to read the whole thing in the Wall Street Journal.

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