Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy




From the Frying Pan into the Fire ...
Will the disabled get fair treatment under Health 'care' Reform?




by Ron Panzer
President, Hospice Patients Alliance
August 13, 2009



Some of the disabled are eagerly looking forward to proposed federal health care reform. They cite problems with private health insurance companies as reason to believe the government will do better. The abuses by private health insurance companies, especially HMOs and managed care are well-known.

Denial of needed medical treatment clearly result in death or harm to patients in need. Can we expect the federal government not to do the same? The United Kingdom and Canada are notorious for rationing health care treatments, surgeries and medications. The horror stories from those nations with socialized medicine are plastered on the internet.

We can look at current and past treatment of the disabled to get a handle on what our government will do. What is the general "flavor" of treatment the disabled get from the federal government?

Disaster Planning

Well, current American government disaster plans leave the disabled without adequate help. In general, government planners created their plans without consulting the disability community, without considering the needs of differently-disabled individuals, and often ignored the special needs of the disabled. Basically, it is clear that the disabled are considered "expendable" by many in government. Why is that? Well, many in government are utilitarians who believe it is ok to sacrifice the health or welfare of a few in order to benefit the many. They do not honor the individual rights of the disabled in their actions or plans. See "Disaster plans leave disabled behind" from the Washington Times.

Involuntary Experimentation

Throughout American history (and world history as well) the disabled, the weak and infirm, prisoners and the enslaved have periodically been used unwillingly, and often without their knowledge, for experimentation and research designed to benefit society in general, but which directly harmed those forced to participate in the experiments. See "Protecting People with Mental Disabilities and Impairments against Biomedical Research Abuse" and "Human Experiments: A Chronology of Human Research."

For just one shocking example among many, as recently as the mid-1990s, families in the USA were involuntarily targeted for exposure to lead poisoning without their knowledge or permission. See "My Kids Were Used as Guinea Pigs."

Unethical "ethics"

How is this possible? The "ethics" used by government leaders is notT the same ethics we think of when we think of ethical decision-making or behavior. Federal ethics is guided by the "Belmont principles," named after the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research conference held at the Smithsonian Institution's Belmont Conference Center. Prof Dianne Irving, PhD explains it well in her article, and "What is Bioethics?" In other words, the image of the "mad scientist" bent on success at any cost (especially someone else's expense) reflects the reality of some researchers. These types have always existed, and they do not care what harm they do to some, especially the (to them) "expendable" disabled, as long as they reach their goals.

Ezekiel Emmanuel, health adviser to our President, 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 . . . ." See " Deadly Doctors, Advisors Want to Ration Care" from the New York Post.

Euthanasia of the Disabled

In the Netherlands, euthanasia of the disabled infants was legalized. See "The Dutch Way of Death, Socialized medicine helped turn doctors into killers." A particularly revealing passage asks, "How did Dutch doctors change their thinking so dramatically in the space of one lifetime?"

"The path to the death culture began when doctors learned to think like accountants. As the cost of socialized medicine in the Netherlands grew, doctors were lectured about the importance of keeping expenses down. In many hospitals, signs were posted indicating how much old-age treatments cost taxpayers. The result was a growing "social pressure" from doctors and others, says Arno Heltzel, a spokesman for the Catholic Union of the Elderly, the largest Dutch senior-citizen group, which favors voluntary euthanasia. "Old people have to excuse themselves for living. When they say that all of their friends are dead, people say, 'Maybe it is time for you to go too,' rather than, 'You need to find new friends.' "

At least the disabled that support the socialization of medicine in this country have been warned of the dangers inherent in giving the government and health care workers the power of life and death. It is not without good reason that the oath doctors used to universally take, the Hippocratic Oath, affirmed that doctors were to "do no harm!" When able-bodied citizens of this country will likely find shortages of physicians to serve, why should the disabled expect better? As Kathryn Serkes of the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons says, "doctors are going to bail out."

If power over life and death is indeed ceded to the federal government, it will be too late for many. They will have jumped from the "frying pan into the fire" just as so many in Nazi Germany found, to their horror. See "October 1939 - Nazis Begin Euthanasia on Sick and Disabled." Harriet McBryde Johnson says in her article, "Unspeakable Conversations," that Princeton's Professor Peter Singer is considered by some "the most influential philosopher of our time. [and] "He is the man who wants me dead. No, that's not at all fair. He wants to legalize the killing of certain babies who might come to be like me if allowed to live." Can you wrap your head around that? One of the so-called "most-influential philosophers of our time" advocates the killing of disabled babies. Perhaps it is just because he advocates the killing of some babies that in today's utilitarian society, he is so influential!

To those of us who are vigilant and listening with anguish to the cries of those who are afflicted, exploited and even killed, it is clear we are plunging at full speed into the chasm, repeating well-known and horrific evils of the past. What happened to the simple ethic of caring, loving and serving those in need?





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