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Eaton: Hold on, as we ply uncharted waters with Obamacare

Eaton

Eaton

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Updated: August 7, 2012 6:31AM



“If you expect the government to take care of your health from birth to death, expect the distance between the two of them to get shorter.”

Though intended to lighten the heavy topic of government-run health care, the truth of that sarcasm outweighs its humor.

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week that the Obama administration’s crown jewel, the Affordable Care Act, is constitutional, a universal health care system guided and regulated by the federal government appears to be in America’s future, unless something drastic happens in the next few months.

And while the debate over whether that irritating and costly individual health care mandate is a penalty or a tax continues, for many that’s not the real problem.

Illinois already has plunged deeply into the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as critics refer to it. During the closing days of the General Assembly’s spring session, Republicans and Democrats voted to ask the federal government for permission to implement a key provision of the law two years early. If the feds say OK, more than 250,000 unmarried, uninsured young adults will go on the state’s Medicaid rolls.

“It’s not really going to cost us anything more,” one Springfield lawmaker said. “We’re already paying for their health care. Now we’ll get federal funds.”

So easy. Just get on the federal government’s dole and you’re set. Just like the indigent and prisoners. All your physical needs are met, but at what cost?

Sunday, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-8th) convened a town hall meeting to discuss the high court’s ruling.

“Obamacare was the issue of 2010, and with the Supreme Court’s decision last week, it’s now become the issue of 2012,” Walsh told the crowd of nearly 350 in Elk Grove Village.

Among the attendees were four physicians who spoke out spontaneously during the Q-and-A. Concerned about the major changes about to be thrust upon their profession by the federal government, they were especially emotional when discussing charity care.

“I don’t know if you are aware, but back in the good old days, physicians could charge what they wanted and write off what they wanted,” an older woman doctor said. “Today, I have to face fraud if I charge less than Medicare. I am aware of the plight of my patients, but it’s not worth going to jail.

“Welcome to the death panels. They are truly here,” she said, her voice breaking. “No longer can I order preventive tests for my patients. I have to wait until any idiot could diagnose the disease, and then, guess what, it’s too late.”

Walsh responded to the doctor’s chilling comments by saying, “Obamacare will forever change your relationship with your patients. The question is, what are you prepared to do to stop it? The goal is to push everyone onto the Medicaid rolls.”

Another of the doctors, Raymond Bianchi, of Lake Zurich, said his deepest concern was how the Supreme Court decision would allow the federal government to force public policy over religious conviction.

“As a family practice doctor, my biggest concern is that if my government can make the Catholic Church do what is morally objectionable, I can guarantee you they can make Dr. Ray Bianchi do it as well,” he told the crowd. “And that is my biggest concern. What Joe says we have to have, the responsibility for health care, I couldn’t believe it more. If we give it to the government, it’ll come down to dollars and only dollars.

“Just last week, I had a 90-year-old woman living in a nursing home — who still talks to her family, communicates with them but is demented — break her hip,” Bianchi continued. “It was recommended, ‘Why don’t we just not fix it?’ The reality is if we don’t fix it, she will die after a miserable several months. She was very much high risk, but with surgery, and God willing, it worked out. ... We cannot give the government the power to decide what happens to you. That decision is between you and me, your doctor.”

A third doctor privately confirmed what the other two said. An infectious disease doctor at Alexian Brothers Hospital, she said America’s system would soon be like Austria’s, where she had been hospitalized as a medical student.

“In that system, hospital workers expect to be tipped for the work (they do),” she said. “The state had to approve every medical activity, and I was asked for cash to pay the hospital bill before I was dismissed.”

The Nov. 6 election is increasingly becoming a decision on two contrasting world views, Walsh emphasized to the crowd.

“You can fight for liberty or you can focus on equality, the agenda the Liberal Left is pushing,” he said.

Sounds eerily similar to our Founding Father Patrick Henry’s famous statement, “Give me liberty or give me death!” doesn’t it?

Fran Eaton is a Southland resident who co-founded and edits the conservative political blog, illinoisreview.com



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