Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Culture of Death" in Health Care Bill: A Summary.

At LifeSiteNews, Peter J. Smith and Kathleen Gilbert summarize "pro-life" issues with the proposed health care bill. Their concerns fall into five categories: abortion, conscience protections, rationing, end of life planning and sex education.


  • School-based health-clinics: Sec. 2511 (p.1352) prohibits school-based health clinic grants from being used for abortion, and specifies that eligible clinics are those that do not perform abortion. However, no language prohibits school-based health clinics from giving school-girls referrals to an offsite abortion facility. [ ]

  • Expanded access and funding for abortifiacient contraception (Sec. 2526)
They oppose referrals of young girls to abortion services and they oppose contraception. In other words, because they work to make abortion and contraception illegal, they work to prevent information about these services from reaching the public. Sex of course is worthy of punishment.


  • Sections 258 and 259: though containing some conscience protections, the bill does not clearly extend to health-care entities and workers that object to contraception, esp. abortifacient contraception. Thus health-care providers with these moral objections, such as Catholic hospitals, would be affected. [Source:]
They favor conscience protections for medical workers but not for patients; the objective is to protect discrimination in health care services. Patients' rights are unimportant to them, institutionalizing a specific religious ideology is.


Pro-life advocates fear that H.R. 3962 will effect health-care rationing on a scale that does not yet exist in the United States, but is a way of life in countries with socialized health care such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

  • The law of supply and demand: Congressional Budget Office forecasts that H.R. 3962 will insure an extra 36 million non-elderly individuals between 2013-2019. Some analysts conclude that, since the supply of health care professionals will not be able to keep up with such a sudden influx of demand, that this will likely lead to rationing.

  • Price controls: Section 104 allows the Health Insurance Exchange Commissioner has the authority to kick out insurance companies participating in the health insurance exchange that he judges have "excessive or unjustified premium increases." Private insurance companies face the choice of going out of business altogether or rationing health care services as a way to absorb the revenue loss. [Source NRLC]

  • Lack of protection in balancing cost and quality: Sec. 2401 establishes a "Center for Quality Improvement" that has four prime responsibilities: one, identifying existing "best practices;" two, create new ones; three, evaluate the old against the new; and four, implement the best practices in health-care. The bill does guard against "quality-adjusted life year measures or any other methodologies that can be used to deny benefits to a beneficiary against the beneficiary's wishes on the basis of the beneficiary's age, life expectancy, present or predicted disability, or expected quality of life." However, as NRLC points out, the stipulation applies only in the "development" of such practices, and advances no such safeguard regarding the center's other three roles.

  • Sec. 1159 commissions the creation of Medicare reimbursement standards that ostensibly provide incentives for "high value care;" it, too, does not guard against "quality-adjusted" rationing.
They fear for the profits of insurance companies! And, despite strong desire to protect supply and demand principles, a major criticism for health care reform is that covering all Americans will create doctor and resource shortages. I've debunked rationing conversations before. Our medical industry is out of hand, milking Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance programs for all they can because there are no strong regulation stops in place. With the exception of those uninsured, our patients tend to be over medicated, over treated, over tested. It has become a lucrative policy for the medical industry to convince us that we need services that don't have much life-lengthening benefits.


  • "Nudging": Section 1233: offers to pay for voluntary consultations once every five years on end-of-life options. As many critics have pointed out, in principle, this provision gives a financial incentive to doctors to take advantage of uncertainty or vulnerability on the part of the patient in order to "nudge" him or her towards options that would cost less.

  • The Assisted Suicide loophole: Sections 240 and 1233: Health-care providers are forbidden from disseminating literature that encourages "assisted suicide", "mercy killing", or "euthanasia." However no section defines what the terms mean - opening up a serious loophole. States like Oregon and Washington do not use the term "assisted suicide." Instead the term is "physician assisted death." In effect, this bill fails to prevent assisted suicide options from being presented under another name.
As with reproductive rights for women, "pro-life" groups assume a patriarchal position on end of life care: patients don't know best, doctors don't know best, we do. Removing patients' rights from the conversation, they work to impose religious ideology on care. And claim that doctors will coerce vulnerable patients into - a host of fear mongering that is unjustified but further's their cause.

Actually the laws in Washington and Oregon are, well, laws. With strict guidelines. Doctors are not allowed to bring up aid in dying with patients there. "Pro-life" concerns are unjustified. They simply want to make aid in dying illegal so they work to oppose them in any way they can.


  • Federal funding of Planned Parenthood-style permissive sex education programs “to prevent teen pregnancy” (section 2526), similar to that stipulated in the Senate version of Obama
  • care
Abstinence education has been proven ineffective statistically. Yet, "pro-life" groups work to punish teens for having sex, to keep them from learning how to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

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