Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The “Ethics” of Obamacare

Dr Stuart Fickler, a retired physicist (who hasn't lost his phys!) currently serves as Scientist-in-Residence at the Chabad Learning Center of Greater Dayton (OH). He is a close friend and mentor who recently shared his perspective on Obamacare with me. I felt that it would make a helpful Guest Post:
"I am outraged by the cavalier attitude of our current government toward human life. I refer to the evidence inferred from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s articles related to the “Complete Life System” (Journal of the American Medical Association and Lancet), and the Veteran’s Administration’s publication “Your Life Your Choices”. Dr. Emanuel is Head of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health and a top advisor to President Obama on health care. The principal author of “Your Life Your Choices” is Dr. Robert A. Pearlman, Chief, Ethics Evaluation of the VA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care. It is fair to presume that both of these men will have significant influence on the implementation of any law pertaining to national health care. Both of these men base their arguments on what they call ethical considerations.
I am Jewish and I am prepared to argue that their so called “ethical considerations” are an affront to the ethics of Judaism. An essential principle of Judaism is “choose life” (Deut. 30:19). All of the commandments and practices of Judaism are centered on that statement. Any discussion of end of life MUST start with that as the primary operating imperative. The ethical and practical considerations may become complex, but “choose life” must remain the guiding principle. As a scientist with experience with statistical process control, I am convinced that it is indeed possible to develop a heath care system that is effective, economically sound and preserves the ethical imperative: sustain life.
From their writings, it appears that Drs. Emanuel and Pearlman base their “ethical considerations” on a social resource allocation model which reduces the human being to a commodity. Like a commodity a human life will have a price put on it relative to its value to the consumer (the government). That will determine the level of care to be provided to an individual. That is an obscenity! It is an abomination to God, to creation and to humanity! It reduces human life to something that is bought and sold in the marketplace.
In closing, I would like to add one more thought. In one of his writings Dr. Emanuel states "Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; …”. This is either naïve or insidious. Once the principle of a resource allocation model is accepted, there is nothing to stop an authority from extending it to any other segment of the society."
Thank you, Dr Fickler, for your insights and analysis.
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