I have many ethical problems with the Obama Health Care bill.

But the real story that is being ignored about Obama’s health care bill is that it kowtows to big insurance and big drug companies, who stand to make a killing from the bill.

Reuter’s review of “winners and loser” should give you pause: hospitals and drug companies are on the “winner list”. Reuter’s claim that insurance companies the losers, but they do point out that insurance companies will benefit in the long run:

(the bill) will bring tighter regulations to insurers and other players as well as some payment cuts — but the industry could also see more than 30 million new customers …

A bleaker picture of the bill is found in Chronicles magazine:

When all is said and done, this gift to the insurance companies will dwarf the bailouts of the banks and the auto industry…

The big losers, of course, are the businesses that face fines if they do not provide adequate health insurance to their employees

…In the worst position will be those who do not currently have health insurance because they truly cannot afford it. They will be eligible for tax credits to make their mandatory insurance more affordable, but those tax credits will be nonrefundable, so if they owe very little or nothing in taxes, the credits will do them little to no good. They still won’t be able to afford health insurance, but now they will be forced to pay a fine—a minimum of $95 or one percent of their income (whichever is higher) in the first year, ratcheting up to a minimum of $695 or two percent of their income by 2014.

So big business will be the big winner, not necessarily the American people who need insurance, or who will lose their jobs when the companies decide the cost of insurance makes moving to Mexico a lot cheaper.

Not mentioned, of course, are the immigrants…one of the reasons that the Catholic bishops opposed the bill. Nope, they are left out in the cold too.

California’s big illegal immigrant population, though, won’t be covered. Undocumented immigrants can’t even use their own money to buy insurance through a newly created exchange where policies could be cheaper.

So the real winner is the Health industry.

Of course, if you bothered to read Mother Jones, you would have known about this last year. They even observed how the bill’s possible passage made health stocks go up last December, when it seemed certain that the bill would eventually pass.

So, sure enough, today the stock market is up.

Time axis.

Dow 10,888.83 +102.94 (0.95%)
S&P 500 1,174.17 +8.36 (0.72%)
Nasdaq 2,415.24 +19.84 (0.83%)

and the Houston Chronicle observes:

Thanks to a legion of well-paid lobbyists, Big Pharma managed to beat back the threat of encroaching competition from generic drugmakers and fended off changes to Medicare’s prescription drug program, a Bush-era spending boondoggle that’s been a cash cow for the industry.

Stocks of health insurers, however, turned in a more mixed reaction. Aetna rose about 2 percent, while UnitedHealth fell about 4 percent and WellPoint slipped 2 percent.

Insurers will have to make costly changes in the next few years. They won’t be able to drop patients for contracting expensive illnesses and they can’t deny them a policy for having the dread “pre-existing condition.”

Those requirements, however, don’t kick in for a few years, and the costs associated with them will be offset, in part, by the prospect of about 32 million new customers who will now be covered.

So, class, how much of this did you see discussed in the last year?

Georgetown ethicist Dr. Edmund Pelligrino years ago predicted that the major ethical problem in medicine would be the acceptance of the business ethic over the traditional Hippocratic ethic of medicine.

The profit motive is irreconcilable with the patient’s best interests because when the covenant between physician and patient turns into a business contract, “the end result is a physician who is an employee whose loyalties are divided between organization and patient, and whose self-interests are pitted against the patient to curb costs or make profits”

Medical professionalism: Can it, should it survive? J Amer Board Fam Prac. 2000;13:148.

With it’s emphasis on business, the Obama Health bill will end up rationing medical care. You see, when ever you get “experts” to decide on what care you can get, the end result is a form of medical rationing that merely uses “scientific” “Quality of life years” or similar criteria to decide if care is cost effective. Such criteria, of course, is biased against the handicapped, the mentally disabled, prisoners, or the elderly.

But the real question is: who is making a bundle by manipulating health care stocks? Which Congressmen will receive sweetheart deals from big business for voting for the bill, and who is going to notice this?

Senator Coburn, aka “Dr. No”, has been keeping an eye on some of the more partisan “bribes for votes”, but who will notice things like spouses or kids being given lucrative jobs by private companies in a quid pro quo?

My bets are on Coast to Coast or Mother Jones, not Rush or Huffpost, and especially not Fox or the New York Times…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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