Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Government in Medicine [Serge]

We all have seen a number of bad arguments to support abortion, but I believe this one, as advanced in this article in the New England Journal of Medicine, may be the absolute worst. All three articles advance this argument, but here is a quote from the shortest one:

It is not that physicians do not want oversight and open discussion of delicate matters but, rather, that we want these discussions to occur among informed and knowledgeable people who are acting in the best interests of a specific patient. Government regulation has no place in this process. In 1997, another editor of the Journal, Jerome Kassirer, took Congress to task for practicing medicine without a license.3 He cited a number of instances, including the passage of a forerunner of the bill that the Supreme Court upheld last week. With Gonzales v. Carhart, the judicial branch has regrettably joined the legislative branch in practicing medicine without a license.

No, its not that we don't like governmental oversight, but that we wish to be able to crush the skulls of 2nd trimester human beings outside the womb without "governmental interference".

The main problem with this argument is that it presupposes that government is not already involved in the practice of medicine. Anyone who is involved in health care at any level knows that such a presupposition is completely preposterous. Earlier this week I had to reapply for my federal controlled substance license (which is separate from either my state controlled substance license as well as my state license for surgery). Two nights ago I could not prescribe a patient the medication I wanted because it needed a triplicate prescription, and governmental regulations dictate that phone prescriptions if this type are not allowed. Due to Medicare regulations, I need to show that I have assigned a committee (consisting of my office manager and myself) to review my own charts to ensure that I am diagnosing and billing correctly - and have to document our meetings as a condition to be a Medicare provider.

In other words, government is already so involved in health care that an hour probably does not go by in this practice in which a "medical decision" is not, in some way, effected by a governmental policy.

It is this environment in which our Congress has finally said "enough!" to the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion. To believe that this ruling will somehow introduce government into the practice of medicine or to intimidate physicians with the prospect of governmental oversight is, frankly, as idiotic an argument as they come. It says far more about the elitism, poor thinking, and general cluelessness of our medical organizations than anything else.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Serge. I was actually trying to post a similar point, but I am in the midst of a monstrous fundraiser and a little tied up. The idea that doctors do not already have government standards and restriction governing their practices is silly. The elimination of a lethal procedure is not a NEW intrusion on the medical field. It is an additional standard of practice enforced adn regualted by our government. The hysteria about government involvement in the medical field by pro-aborts is a red herring.



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