As the days fly by, the fate of the current federal health care legislation has come into focus. States banded together in opposition to a law that few want and fewer can afford. A federal judge in Florida agreed with the states. Regardless of what happens on the way to the Supreme Court, in the end ObamaCare will be a sapling that dies not from lack of attention but from lack of any soil to put down roots.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 30 – No 03 – March 2011
Our system of checks and balances works. Our founders, who risked their lives and fortunes, wrote a constitution to prevent the federal government from overstepping its authority. Much of the Constitution is devoted to what the government may not do. The colonists, for very good reason, were concerned about creating a federal government that would become as tyrannical as the one they had just driven off in the revolution.
This poorly conceived legislation, which was slipped through a lame duck session of Congress, should be allowed a quick and peaceful death. Why keep it on life support? Prolonging the dying process just adds to the pain and delays creation of legislation that will effectively address the problems before us without using the Constitution as birdcage liner.
Some parts of the bill, such as insurance reform, are worthwhile and should be included in the new legislation. Other parts, such as the bastardization of the commerce clause to force citizens to buy health insurance, must be eliminated. How anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of the problems at hand could have crafted the original legislation without addressing our absurd tort system is beyond comprehension. Congress has much work to do, and the sooner they get to it the better.
I’ve been puzzled by those on the right who demagogue the issue of end-of-life care. They claim that there will be death panels and the government will force people into talking about death. This hyperbole adds nothing to the debate. What many liberals and conservatives fail to acknowledge is that we are well past the day when we have enough cash sitting around to perform every conceivable intervention on people whose inevitable death is near or who lack self-awareness.
The federal government must get a grip on exploding entitlement costs. It is not unreasonable to encourage and enable doctors to have discussions with patients and family members about end-of-life care. This is a conversation that should be going on anyway. And it should be done on a routine visit to the doctor, not outside room 12 of the local ED when the patient is in respiratory failure.