Monthly Archives: August 2009

Europe at Its Best, Part II (Cont. from yesterday)

RothenbergUltimately the true hero and heroine of hospitality during our stay were Michael and Grace, who provided abundant love, lovely sleeping quarters in their apartment, great food, and lots of “the best” in entertainment. We got to see Michael’s office, toured Ansbach and Rothenberg (Stephen exclaimed, “I think I’ve died and gone to Disney World”), spent an incredible evening floating in warm mineral baths in Bad Windsheim (unforgettably relaxing and refreshing), etc. etc.

Gorgeous roses; grand architecture

Michael also helped us get “Rosie M. Banks,” our new GPS unit that (generally) made it a pleasure to get from Point A to Point B without too much trauma. When Michael and Grace had to leave for a conference in Berlin, Alan, Stephen, Joel and I took a fabulous flying trip to Vienna, Venice, and Florence. The roses in Vienna were 13 feet high in places and the Hapsburg Palace and historic district are truly architectural wonders.

No bad views here

Venice is Venice—one of the most romantic and beautiful cities on earth as far as I can tell. It was so hot that we couldn’t endure until the evening, when St. Marco’s Square is filled with the romantic sounds of fabulous live music from a dozen or more ensembles, but it was still a remarkable day.

View from our Hotel Terrace. The Duomo

In Florence, we were able to get into the Uffizi (by waiting in line for only 1.5 hours). It was 105° that day. In fact, our whole tour was HOT, HOT, HOT. The best part about Florence to me was having a room with a view for my dear son Joel, who loves the movie by that name. (The movie was filmed in Florence)! Joel could see the Duomo from his bed by the window. This was a mixed blessing, however, because somewhere from the throat of the bell tower rang out chimes… 50-75-90 times to awaken us early in the mornings and remind us that it was time to go to mass. In addition to a sense of visual wonder in each city, we enjoyed really great cuisine (didn’t like paying 2.50 E for a bottle of water or up to 1.5 E for a bathroom, but what can I say??).

The Alps

And, the scenery of the Austrian and Italian Alps was unparalleled! Alan and I returned home feeling mind-bogglingly happy and “full” and have been honeymooning since, although we’re really looking forward to Stephen’s return tonight (who has to start MSU next week), although Joel is staying through September to play nanny for Eowyn when Michael and Grace’s new baby arrives (due Sept. 9). One sad note, though: we just found out that Mike will being deployed to a war zone, probably for six months, starting in Nov. or Dec. I’ve already started praying for his safety. 😦

PS—If you’re not exhausted, I’m planning to post more pictures on FaceBook in the next day or two! Also, Gerlinde has come down with what looks like mumps, but it might  be mono. At any rate, she’s quite ill, and we’d appreciate your prayers for her too! Thanks.

Europe at Its Best!

Okay, I hope I don’t wear you out reading this. If you’re already tired, just read one more sentence and you’ll have our trip in a nutshell! We had a truly marvelous and memorable trip to Europe for Jon and Linda’s wedding. I’m going to try to put up some pictures on FaceBook, so I’ll mostly write my reflections with just a very few pix.

Jet flying home from Germany

The plane flew up to 687 mph. in order to make up for starting an hour late. I’ve never flown so fast in a plane before! (The flight plan also said it was —55° F. outside!) On our drive between Munich and Marktbergel, on the other hand, we were zooming along at an incredible 21 kph for the first couple of hours, fighting construction and the Friday night exodus from Munich and Nuremberg.

Marklbergel

Mike and Grace live in a truly idyllic setting! In the morning, we’d head out for fresh milk from the dairy farm two blocks down the street (yes, the dairy barn is right in the little village!), over to the bakery for fresh bread and pastries, to the butcher shop for whatever meat we might need for the day, and to the grocery store for fruits and veggies plus whatever. It was TOO fun, and everything is so fresh and wonderful.

Jon and Gerlinde during the games

The wedding lasted from 1:30 pm—4:30 am (Alan and I only made it until 12:30 am) and was truly amazing and memorable. After the wedding service (which was not short), there was a first reception in the church yard with cookies and punch, then there was a break for pictures, followed by a coffee and cake reception (CAKES, a buffet of delicious desserts…every friend’s specialty) at a nearby banqueting hall, and then the real meal deal. The appetizer course was so involved that we all thought it was the main course, and Aaron loaded his plate right down. By the way, one of the ladies took several pictures of Aaron, exclaiming to me (in fun) that “Johnny Depp has come to the wedding! I want to show my friends!” In between courses (the cheeses were served after midnight) there were toasts and introductions, wonderful games, a precious slide show, skits, a treasure hunt (for Jon and Linda), and all sorts of fun. One of my favorites was Linda’s parents singing a song they made up about Jon and Gerlinde’s courtship to the tune of “Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do.” Aaron and Michael provided a skit called “The Duvay,” pretending an argument about how to sleep at night. German couples each have their own blanket rather than the American tradition of a shared bedspread! By midnight when most of the adults were fading, they started dancing, and I think that’s what lasted through the night, although I don’t know! The next morning all the close friends from out of town and family gathered at the Jaeschkes’ home for brunch…lunch…tea…and on! The party finally ended after a wonderful brunch on Monday to celebrate Linda’s birthday, and then Jon was finally able to swoop away his bride to a gorgeous condo in the Swiss Alps (compliments of an ENT doc and his wife, family friends from their church) where they spent their honeymoon mountain climbing and attempting to recuperate from all the excitement of the wedding. And that—my friends—is how they do it in Germany! Oh, one last, very touching tradition. The bride and groom give both mothers a gorgeous “bridal bouquet” that looks just like the bride’s…an extravagant expression of love and appreciation for the parents as the young couple leave their father and mother to become “one flesh” and start a new family of their own!

The Intrepid Tourists(Joel, Stephen, Alan, Sarah, Christoph, Johannes [Gerlinde’s older brother, who’s working on a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in Norway], and Suzanna, his lovely wife)

But, the Jaesckes were not finished with their hospitality just because Jon and Linda were gone. They toured us around Erlangen, Wurtzberg, and Nuremberg on following days. Sarah (Mama) is just two weeks younger than I am, but Christoph (Papa) is eight years older and told stories of growing up in Nuremberg. He was born in 1942. One of his earliest memories of his father was one night when his father was able to come home to visit. His father was not a Nazi but was conscripted into the army (as were all “men” 16 or over). He remembers being allowed to crawl into bed with his parents and being amazed that his father had “so many feathers on his chest!” As a youngster, he remembers exploring all the rubble of Nuremberg with other little boys (which was high adventure and strictly off limits because it was so dangerous)…searching for buried treasure…perhaps a crystal off a chandelier that looked like a diamond to them, or some other bit of treasure. Christoph comes from a long line of ministers (his grandfather pastored in the gorgeous church where the ceremony took place). His mother was a doctor, and after the war his parents were missionaries to New Guinea, and from there Christoph went to Australia at the age of 11 for boarding school. What a difficult childhood, although it has made him into a very deep, devout, and thoughtful person! He studied art history before going into the ministry himself, and he knows so much about history, architecture, and art that his tours were truly “THE BEST!” He is a scholar as well as a theologian! Eventually, he married Sarah, who is actually from Ireland but met him while visiting his church with a group of Christian young people. After they married, they became missionaries to Tanzania. Gerlinde is the second of four children (all of whom we met and think are super!), and she spent her early years as a little blonde, blue-eyed dolly playing with very black cuties from Africa. She still loves very hot weather and thinks Florida is great…even in the heat. So, Gerlinde knows both German and English…and Swahili, and maybe a little French and whatever too. She is a tireless worker, and for any of you who may not know, she is also a speech pathologist.  (To be continued on another post so I can get the rest of my pictures on…)

Getting Closer

Jon and Gerlinde wedding photo with our familyStill not done with my catch up, but here’s one picture of our family at the wedding. From left to right: Aaron, me, Stephen, Jon, Gerlinde, Alan, Joel, Grace, Eowyn, and Michael.

The honeymooners deapart!Here is the happy couple on their way to a wonderful chalet in Switzerland where they spent their honeymoon hiking in the Alps. I still don’t have my pictures of the wedding (which we had to down load onto Joel’s computer at the wedding so we could take more!), but if you have Face Book, Gerlinde and various members of our family now have lots of pictures up. I will try to make some albums tomorrow of our trip, since we not only had a spectacular time at the wedding, we had an exceptionally interesting time touring with Gerlinde’s parents and an incredibly fun week with Michael and Grace, ending with a tour of Vienna, Venice, and Florence for Alan, Stephen, Joel, and me. In all, it was a truly delightful and memorable holiday.

First Edition of Wedding Pix!

Jon and Gerlinde

I just have a minute between the men folk returning from an evening stroll and another contingent of men and ladies (Stephen, Joel, Grace, and Eowyn) returning from a little stroll to get Eowyn ready for bed! All my pictures of the wedding got down loaded on to Joel’s computer, so I just have a few from the reception, but I wanted you to see the fabulously radiant couple enjoying the reception!

Cindarella and Prince Charming

Here’s the best picture I have of the couple in all their finery!

Crhistoph and Sarah

Here are Mama and Papa Jaeschke. German weddings are amazingly long! Jon and Gerlinde’s lasted from 1:30 pm until about 4:30 am. They eat an incredible array of delicacies in courses starting just after the service in the courtyard of the church, and lasting well into the night (past midnight) with a last buffet being an array of exotic cheese (after about 9 other courses). In between courses, they play all sorts of games that feature the bride and groom, special musical numbers, skits, etc. One of the funniest (to me) was Gerlinde’s parents singing MANY verses of an original song they made up to the tune of “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do! I’m half crazy, all for the love of you” giving a hilarious rendition of Jon and Linda’s courtship. We feel very blessed for Jon to have married into such a wonderful family. As the ENT doctor sitting next to us lamented, “The Americans come and take away our favorite girls! Gerlinde is the best there is in Germany!” As far as Jon can tell, she’s the best girl in the universe!

Until I’m Back on Line…

Cat all hung up!Here are a few reminders for those of us who get hung up on life:

Take a nap when you need one.

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that all things work together for good to them that love God.

If you get a chance that seems right and good, take it. If it changes your life, let it.

God never promised that life would be easy, but He promises that it will be worth it all when we see Jesus face to face!

What’s Wrong with Obama’s Health Care Bill? Plenty!

For some reason, hundreds of people have been checking out this entry from last August, which deals with the old bill before it was redone. The latest information from today is:

March 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm

From my congressman:

I voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) for many reasons, especially because it is far too complex and expensive. I believe that we can develop a better, more workable solution for health care. President Obama signed this legislation into law yesterday, March 23.

However, as you may have heard, there is bipartisan agreement that this new law is flawed. In fact, also on Sunday, the House considered a second bill to make changes to it. This second bill, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (H.R. 4872), would make a number of changes to the health bill that is now law. The Senate still needs to vote on this second, “fix-it” bill.

In tandem, this newly enacted law and the second, fix-it bill raise taxes on Americans by over $569 billion, create harsh penalties for businesses that cannot afford health care for employees, and do not prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions. Also, this new law and the second bill include many new health insurance requirements that will increase costs, doing nearly nothing to control the long-term spiral of ever-increasing health care costs.

In addition, the closed-door tactics of writing this legislation with virtually no Republican input, and some very questionable parliamentary tactics used in the process to pass it, are extremely disappointing to me. We could do much better if we all worked together to produce the best possible health care insurance legislation at the lowest possible cost.

Sincerely,

Vernon J. Ehlers
Member of Congress

How Will the Health Bill Affect Us?

March 24, 2010 · Kathryn W. Armstrong

Let’s make some logical deductions from the facts:

1.  If  you are a tax payer, you will end up paying more taxes. Despite the government’s penchant for the rhetoric of “fees” instead of taxes, our government only has one means for raising money: taxing the citizens. None of our politicians sell books or provide free services to raise money for “the cause.” The trillions of dollars for the health care reform, and the countless billions more in interest—if it doesn’t prove to be the 2X4 that breaks the back of the U.S. economy altogether—will have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere isn’t thin air…it’s out of our pockets. That’s all we’ve got, folks. There ain’t nothin’ else, no matter what anybody tries to tell us.

2.  If your health care is already being assisted by the government in any way—be it Medicare, Medicaid, or whatever—that assistance is going to be diminished. Why do I say that? Because you can’t add 32,000,000 people who need help on to an existing program without a huge amount of sharing, with the “haves” needing to give up part of what they have to provide for the “have nots.” I am not saying this is wrong. Christ tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we’d all been doing that, there wouldn’t be a need for health reform. But, when charity becomes government business instead of personal business, we suddenly find that our neighborhood goes beyond those we know personally, voluntary sharing in love becomes mandatory taxation, and that we may be forced to give up the medical care we expected in order to help those who may be deemed in more critical need or more worthy of care by reason of younger age or whatever (unless they’re helpless babes in the womb; sadly, the government won’t help them)!

3.  Being forced to sign up for health insurance and pay for it will be a financial burden to those who do not have it at present. Logically, if people could afford to pay for health insurance, they would be doing so. Where will people come up with the extra cash to buy health insurance if they can’t afford it in the first place? Are we really going to prosecute people if they don’t get health insurance? Send them to jail? Where’s the wisdom and justice in that one? Unless the 32 million people are given free health care, then I don’t think forcing them to buy insurance is truly a benefit to them. My husband works at a hospital where even penniless patients can come in and get emergency care free as needed. (Granted, he works at a Christian, non-profit hospital, but I’m hoping that might be true at other hospitals??) Wouldn’t it be better for poverty-stricken individuals to get free emergency care as needed rather than to have to pay for care that they may or may not need along with all their other struggles?

4. The burden of so many more people in the health care system will necessarily diminish access to excellent service in a timely way. It will take years  to gear up medical schools to train enough physicians to meet the additional needs and many more years before there are enough seasoned physicians who are able to service the greater population. In the meantime, there will be tremendous pressure on the existing medical staff. Doctors and other medical personnel  will have to work even harder (if that’s possible…my physician husband is already pushing the limits of his endurance) and be less available to each individual patient as he tries to meet the needs of a spiraling population base.

5.  Eventually, hopefully, things will settle out, and in another 50 years, after the Baby Boomers have all passed on to their eternal homes, our population may stabilize and learn to accommodate the basic medical needs of all of “We, the people of the United States.” High-end care will become almost a thing of the past, fewer  brilliant, aspiring students will become doctors because the pay will be less and the hours horrendous, and America will cease being a medical mecca that draws in some of the most creative and energetic students from around the world. Health care will become part of the great, gray middle zone, but at least most everyone will have a crack at basic care, and that is certainly laudable.

This isn’t a very vibrant forecast, but I believe it’s an honest one. For those of us left holding the bag—and that’s all of us who pay taxes—I would encourage us to try to look on the bright side of what seems like a potential disaster. Helping those in need is a good thing. Breaking the backs of the working class is not. Let’s continue to pray for those who are making decisions and trying to sort out “all this mess!” May we continue to try on a personal basis to create beauty from chaos and offer good will and kindness to others as we can. May God’s promise hold true: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Are you one of the “called” of God? The Bible says that God is calling everyone! I hope we all answer. :)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

What’s Wrong with Obama’s Health Care Bill? Let Me Tell You…

March 19, 2010 ·

Here is a letter I sent to Senator Bayh.. Feel free to  copy it and send it around to all other  representatives. — Stephen  Fraser

(Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis, IN ) .

Senator  Bayh,

As a practicing  physician I have major concerns with the health  care bill before Congress. I actually have read  the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the  government’s proposed involvement in the  patient-physician relationship. The very idea  that the government will dictate and ration  patient care is dangerous and certainly not  helpful in designing a health care system that  works for all. Every physician I work with  agrees that we need to fix our health care  system, but the proposed bills currently making  their way through congress will be a disaster if  passed.

I ask you  respectfully and as a patriotic American to look  at the following troubling lines that I have  read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe  that these proposals are in the best interests  of the country and our fellow  citizens.

Page 22  of the HC Bill:  Mandates that the Govt  will audit books of all employers that  self-insure!!
Page 30 Sec 123  of HC bill:   THERE WILL BE A GOVT  COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits  you get.
Page 29 lines 4-16 in  the HC bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS  RATIONED!!!
Page 42 of HC  Bill:  The Health Choices Commissioner  will choose your HC benefits for you. You have  no choice!
Page 50 Section 152  in HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL  non-US citizens, illegal or  otherwise.
Page  58 HC Bill:  Govt will have real-time  access to individuals’ finances & a  ’National ID Health card’ will be  issued! (Papers  please!)
Page  59 HC Bill lines 21-24:  Govt will have  direct access to your bank accounts for elective  funds transfer. (Time  for more cash and carry)
Page 65  Sec 164: Is a payoff subsidized plan for  retirees and their families in unions &  community organizations:  (ACORN).
Page 84 Sec 203 HC  bill: Govt mandates ALL benefit packages  for private HC plans in the  ’Exchange.’
Page 85 Line  7 HC Bill:  Specifications of Benefit  Levels for Plans The Govt  will ration your health  care!
Page 91 Lines 4-7  HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic  appropriate services.  (Translation:  illegal aliens.)
Page 95  HC Bill Lines 8-18: The Govt will use  groups (i.e. ACORN & Americorps to sign up  individuals for Govt HC  plan.
Page 85 Line 7 HC  Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels  for Plans. (AARP members – your health care WILL  be rationed!)
Page 102  Lines 12-18 HC Bill:  Medicaid eligible  individuals will be automatically enrolled in  Medicaid.  (No choice.)
Page  124 lines 24-25 HC: No company can sue  GOVT on price fixing. No “judicial review”  against Govt monopoly.
Page 127  Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/ American  Medical Association – The Govt will tell YOU  what salary you can make.
Page  145 Line 15-17: An Employer MUST  auto-enroll employees into public option  plan. (NO choice!)
Page  126 Lines 22-25: Employers MUST pay for  HC for part-time employees ANDtheir  families.  (Employees shouldn’t get excited  about this as employers will be forced to reduce  its work force, benefits, and wages/salaries to  cover such a huge  expense.)
Page 149 Lines  16-24: ANY Employer with payroll 401k  & above who does not provide public option  will pay 8% tax on all payroll!  (See the  last comment in  parenthesis.)
Page 150  Lines 9-13: A business with payroll  between $251K & $401K who doesn’t provide  public option will pay 2-6% tax on all  payroll.
Page 167 Lines  18-23: ANY individual who doesn’t have  acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed  2.5% of income.
Page 170 Lines  1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is  exempt from individual taxes.  (Americans will pay.) (Like  always)
Page  195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of  the GOVT HC Admin..  will have access to ALL Americans’ finances and  personal records. (I guess  so they can ‘deduct’ their  fees)
Page 203  Line 14-15 HC: “The tax imposed under  this section shall not be treated as tax.”   (Yes, it really says  that!) ( a  ’fee’ instead)
Page 239  Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt will reduce  physician services for Medicaid Seniors.   (Low-income and the poor are  affected)
Page 241  Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors: It doesn’t  matter what specialty you have trained yourself  in — you will all be paid the same! (Just TRY  to tell me that’s not  Socialism!)
Page 253 Line  10-18: The Govt sets the value of a  doctor’s time, profession, judgment, etc.   (Literally– the value of  humans.) Page 265 Sec 1131:  The Govt mandates and controls productivity for  ”private” HC industries.
Page  268 Sec 1141: The federal Govt regulates the  rental and purchase of power driven  wheelchairs.
Page 272 SEC.  1145: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS –  Cancer patients – welcome to  rationing!
Page 280 Sec 1151:  The Govt will penalize hospitals for whatever  the Govt deems preventable  (i.e…re-admissions). Page 298 Lines  9-11: Doctors: If you treat a patient during  initial admission that results in a re-admission  – the Govt will penalize  you.
Page 317 L 13-20:  PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. (The Govt  tells doctors what and how much they can  own!)
Page 317-318 lines  21-25, 1-3: PROHIBITION on expansion.  (The  Govt is mandating that hospitals cannot  expand.)
Page 321 2-13: Hospitals have the opportunity to apply  for exception BUT community input is required.   (Can you say  ACORN?)
Page 335 L 16-25 Pg  336-339: The Govt mandates establishment of=2  outcome-based measures. (HC the way they want —  rationing.)
Page 341 Lines 3-9: The Govt has authority to disqualify  Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc.   (Forcing people into the Govt  plan)
Page 354 Sec 1177: The  Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of ’special needs  people!’    Unbelievable!
Page  379 Sec 1191: The Govt creates more bureaucracy  via a “Tele-Health Advisory Committee.”   (Can you say HC by  phone?)
Page 425 Lines 4-12:  The Govt mandates “Advance-Care Planning  Consult.”  (Think senior citizens  end-of-life patients.)
Page  425 Lines 17-19: The Govt will instruct and  consult regarding living wills, durable powers  of attorney, etc.  (And  it’s mandatory!)
Page 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3: The Govt provides an  ”approved” list of end-of-life resources;  guiding you in death. (Also called ‘assisted  suicide.’)(Sounds  like Soylent Green to  me.)
Page  427 Lines 15-24: The Govt mandates a program for  orders on “end-of-life.”  (The Govt has a  say in how your life  ends!)
Page 429 Lines 1-9: An  ”advanced-care planning consultant” will be used  frequently as a patient’s health  deteriorates.
Page 429 Lines  10-12: An “advanced care consultation” may  include an ORDER for end-of-life plans..   (AN ORDER TO DIE FROM THE  GOVERNMENT?!?)
Page 429 Lines 13-25: The GOVT will specify which doctors  can write an end-of-life order..  (I  wouldn’t want to stand before God after getting  paid for THAT job!)
Page 430 Lines 11-15: The Govt will decide what level of  treatment you will have at end –   of-life!   (Again — no  choice!)
Page 469:  Community-Based Home Medical Services =  Non-Profit Organizations.  (Hello?   ACORN Medical Services  here!?!)
Page 489 Sec 1308:  The Govt will cover marriage and family therapy.   (Which means Govt will insert itself into  your marriage even.)
Page  494-498: Govt will cover Mental Health Services  including defining, creating, and rationing  those services.

Senator,  I guarantee that I personally will do everything  possible to inform patients and my fellow  physicians about the dangers of the proposed  bills you and your colleagues are  debating.

Furthermore,  if you vote for a bill that enforces socialized  medicine on the country and destroys the  doctor-patient relationship, I will  do everything in my power to  make sure you lose your job in the next  election.

Respectfully,

Stephen  E. Fraser, MD

Much of the following information, which was from my original posting, is now somewhat irrelevant:

Congress needs to be reminded that the Constitution provides all Americans the RIGHT to LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS.  ANY Bill that cuts an American life short by even 10 seconds, is unconstitutional, period!!!!

DEADLY DOCTORS

OBAMA ADVISERS WANT TO RATION CARE

By BETSY MCCAUGHEY

Emanuel: Believes in withholding care from elderly for greater good.

Obama’s doctor, Emanuel: Believes in withholding care from elderly for greater good.

THE health bills coming out of Congress would put the decisions about your care in the hands of presidential appointees. They’d decide what plans cover, how much leeway your doctor will have and what seniors get under Medicare.

Yet at least two of President Obama’s top health advisers should never be trusted with that power.

Start with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. He has already been appointed to two key positions: health-policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Emanuel bluntly admits that the cuts will not be pain-free. “Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change,” he wrote last year (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).

Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

Yes, that’s what patients want their doctors to do. But Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.

Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.

Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ’96).

Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.

He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).

The bills being rushed through Congress will be paid for largely by a $500 billion-plus cut in Medicare over 10 years. Knowing how unpopular the cuts will be, the president’s budget director, Peter Orszag, urged Congress this week to delegate its own authority over Medicare to a new, presidentially-appointed bureaucracy that wouldn’t be accountable to the public.

Since Medicare was founded in 1965, seniors’ lives have been transformed by new medical treatments such as angioplasty, bypass surgery and hip and knee replacements. These innovations allow the elderly to lead active lives. But Emanuel criticizes Americans for being too “enamored with technology” and is determined to reduce access to it.

Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, agrees. He recommends slowing medical innovation to control health spending.

Blumenthal has long advocated government health-spending controls, though he concedes they’re “associated with longer waits” and “reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices” (New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001). But he calls it “debatable” whether the timely care Americans get is worth the cost. (Ask a cancer patient, and you’ll get a different answer. Delay lowers your chances of survival.)

Obama appointed Blumenthal as national coordinator of health-information technology, a job that involves making sure doctors obey electronically delivered guidelines about what care the government deems appropriate and cost effective.

In the April 9 New England Journal of Medicine, Blumenthal predicted that many doctors would resist “embedded clinical decision support” — a euphemism for computers telling doctors what to do.

Americans need to know what the president’s health advisers have in mind for them. Emanuel sees even basic amenities as luxuries and says Americans expect too much: “Hospital rooms in the United States offer more privacy . . . physicians’ offices are typically more conveniently located and have parking nearby and more attractive waiting rooms” (JAMA, June 18, 2008).

No one has leveled with the public about these dangerous views. Nor have most people heard about the arm-twisting, Chicago-style tactics being used to force support. In a Nov. 16, 2008, Health Care Watch column, Emanuel explained how business should be done: “Every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health-care reform agenda. If the automakers want a bailout, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration’s health-reform effort.”

Do we want a “reform” that empowers people like this to decide for us?

Betsy McCaughey is founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former New York lieutenant governor.

We need to come together and defeat Obama’s  Health Care Bill.. http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/index.html has all of the information you need.

Sleeping Beauty

kitten sleeping on pianoWell, looks like I was sleeping on the job! Cheryl pointed out that the beautiful picture I’d intended to post didn’t show up. It showed a woman changing from a child to an adult to an old lady, and the caption said something like, “True Beauty…from the face to the heart.”  I would love to become an old lady whose heart radiates the beauty of Jesus!