Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Abortion is so cheap

Let's imagine a hypothetical situation occurring after government-run health care becomes a reality in America.

Jim and Jane are a married Catholic couple with four children. Jim works for a small company which dropped private insurance two years ago, choosing instead to offer the government plan to its workers as a way of saving money. Jim and Jane aren't thrilled with the coverage they get, but they can't afford to buy private insurance, and new laws make it illegal to purchase private insurance if you're already on the government plan, anyway. They had to change pediatricians because their former doctor retired; he couldn't make a decent living anymore, and got tired of spending more time doing paperwork than seeing patients. Their new pediatrician is one of a huge group, and it seems that every time their children have to see a doctor they see a different member of the group. The rapport they had with their old doctor is gone, and the new pediatric group has noted the family's homeschooling under a list of "warning signs" for abuse; when the family's two-year-old bruised his knee falling off of his tricycle, the family had to speak to a child protective services worker before the incident was agreed to be an accident.

Jane discovers that she is expecting baby number five. She's excited, but a bit nervous--her pro-life, NFP only doctor had to quit because it's illegal for an OB/Gyn not to provide contraception or to refuse to refer for abortions now. She's only seen her new OB once, and this doctor chided her for having four children, and clearly doesn't share the family's values. But under the government plan this is the only OB Jane can see in her area.

Jane puts her OB visit off as long as possible, but finally heads in early in the second trimester. The doctor is severe: she should have come earlier. She's showing some signs of anemia. The doctor schedules an ultrasound, as it's nearly time for one of the two permitted scans--more than two ultrasounds aren't allowed.

The ultrasound shows a problem. The baby, a boy, shows signs of a fetal bladder obstruction. Prognosis is good, provided a fetal surgery can be done to correct the problem. Jane and Jim are worried, but talk to the doctor about scheduling the surgery.

That's when they find out that the surgery is considered an elective option, not covered by the government insurance plan in their circumstances. They already have four children, so extraordinary measures to prolong the life of this one aren't allowed. Termination of pregnancy, says the OB, is far less expensive than the fetal surgery. Jane has three options: she can come up with the $150,000 to pay for her hospitalization and the fetal surgery (a significantly reduced rate based on the family's income, the doctor says), she can terminate the pregnancy, or she can continue the pregnancy knowing that the failure to correct the obstructed bladder while the baby is in utero will quite likely result in fetal or neonate death. Should she choose the third option, she is still only permitted one further ultrasound to assess the baby's health and development, so she will likely not know how he is doing or whether he is in any distress. The doctor strongly recommends termination, followed by a tubal ligation; that's her "best medical recommendation," she says firmly.

Jim and Jane are devastated. There's no way they will kill their child with an abortion--but they also can't even possibly come up with the money for the surgery on their own. They have no choice but to hope their baby survives until birth, and to present his case to the hospital's board in the hopes that he will be permitted to receive the life-saving surgery at that point. There is, however, no guarantee that that will happen; it's more likely that the hospital will refuse to cover any intervention since the government insurance plan won't pay for it, and will instead offer a much more affordable "painless death" to their ill newborn.

Anyone who thinks this sort of thing won't happen under a government-run health care system hasn't been paying attention. Our government is officially anti-life. Pressures to keep the costs down will be huge. And saving the lives of critically ill unborn children is going to be very, very low on the priorities list--especially when abortion is so cheap.


Baron Korf said...

That's what happens when we stop being customers and start being costs.

Red Cardigan said...

Wonderful line, Baron Korf. I may quote you. :)

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on target with this one, Red. If government run health care becomes a reality, these kinds of scenarios will become all too common.

--Elizabeth B.

Susan said...

I think that these kind of scenarios are already very common in the U.S. If this family's health plan doesn't cover their needs, they will be pushed towards the same choice in the current U.S. medicare system. Not a very convincing argument.

I have four children and am Canadian. With my second, I had quite a few ultrasounds simply because my doctor was uncomfortable with how things were going (it was a pretty uneventful pregnancy - I think he was being overly cautious). After the birth of my fourth, I was asked by medical staff when the next one would be coming.

Such fear mongering is very irritating.

Anonymous said...

Susan, by your own logic, if these scenarios are already common in the US for those who have to resort to Medicare, how would having the entire system essentially BE Medicare, not make things worse?

A Canadian woman called into Sean Hannity's show this afternoon and shared a storty about a friend of hers who found out she was pregnant (she's two months along). Because she did not already have an OB/GYN, she will have to wait 10 months for an appointment. I'm sure it will be very helpful by then.

I'm glad that your experience with prenatal care has been a good one. I've been fortunate to have good prenatal care under our private insurance. Private insurance fails a lot of people, I know, but would Government run health care help fix current problems, or exacerbate them? Given the very pro-choice bent of this administration which is forming the current legislation, I'm not optimistic.

--Elizabeth B.

Susan said...

You misunderstood me. The fact that patients "resort" to medicare in the first place is a problem. Don't kid yourself, this very scenario presented here is already happening in the U.S. If you can afford it, then the health care is great. If not - then it sucks to be you.

I had a long reply to this typed out but I've deleted it and will bow out of the conversation. I have neither the time nor inclination to debate this right now. Just remember, abortion is already legal and widely practiced in the U.S. - a fairer and more publicly funded medicare system won't change it. As for euthanasia, it's already legal in Oregon and I've heard that Washington state is considering making it legal there too. These evil practices, and yes I absolutely believe that abortion and euthanasia are evil, won't be affected by making medical care less privately funded.

A mom from minnesota said...

We need to make sure that we are doing what we can to prevent this health care reform bill. There will be no do-overs. There are lots of nasty things hidden in this bill. Obama lied when he said that if you like your health care you will be able to keep it. Not so in this health care bill. Read the fine print, people. Also, why doesn't anyone talk about torte reform to help lower health care costs. And what about all the illegal immigrants who use the ER as their primary care facility? Not very cost effective is it? (My husband is an ER doc and sees it every day at work).

For those of you who care about vaccination issues, there is a provision in the Senate bill that provides money for the states to put forth a program which would promote higher vaccination rates among children AND adults. How will they do it? First by calling you and/or your doctor. But if that doesn't work you can expect a HOME VISIT from state government officials! I thought this was the United States of America, home of the FREE...

Oh, and members of CONGRESS are exempt from any health care bill that gets passed. If it's good enough for us why isn't it good enough for them??? So please, after reading this, call your representative and your senators and tell them to dump the health care bill.

Amy said...

Who needs there to be a problem with a pregnancy? Obama's "science czar" wrote something back in the 70s advocated forced abortion and mass sterilization (along with taking children from single mothers) if other "population control" methods didn't work.

You won't need to have something wrong with a pregnancy to face pressure to abort. Merely having a 5th, or 6th, pregnancy will be more than sufficient for the government to decide your "breeding" days are over - one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I'm afraid I must have misunderstood your position, and I'm also afraid that I don't understand it any better now. I also really can't understand why you would comment in the first place (especially throwing around accusations of "fear-mongering") if you had "neither the time nor the inclination to debate this right now." I'm interested in debating issues like this, especially with those I disagree with. I didn't intent for my reply to your comment to be hostile or unfair in any way.

--Elizabeth B.

freddy said...

While I think there are good points in this post, I tend to agree that Susan has a point as well. Bottom line, ObamaCare isn't going to be about life or health and will no doubt combine the beaurocracy of medicare with the efficiency and friendliness of immigration.
On the other hand, I do see room in the scenario for this:

Jim and Jane, being good Catholics, discuss the matter with their parish priest. He organizes a fund drive that manages to pay for the needed surgery. He then goes on to meet with other pastors in the area who together form a plan to help parishoners to set up a parish medical fund to be used for situations such as these. The fund goes diocese-wide, and the diocese hires a couple of out-of-work NFP only OB-gyn's, a Catholic psychologist and a geriatric specialist as "health advisors" to the diocese. Other areas pick up on the idea at the annual meeting of Bishops, and a few years later the government is doing a study on why Catholics enjoy the best health in the country.

Kathleen said...

Great insight Freddy! Something that should be obvious to all of us as Catholics. Affordable healthcare and quality education here in the US are a result of the hard work and dedication of the religious men and women who founded and maintained our great Catholic hospitals and schools.

NancyP said...

If publicly-funded insurance is so great, why do all my German friends pay extra for private health insurance plans? Why did I read an article two weeks ago in a Nova Scotia newspaper about the growing popularity of private health insurance - and paying out of pocket for diagnostic procedures such as MRIs to receive them in a timely manner - in Canada?

It seems to me that Congress DOES have other options besides the bill currently under debate. If they're going to tax people to fund health care, why does the health plan have to be a publicly-administered plan? Why can't the tax revenues pay for private plans?

I have experience with a publicly-funded plan because I am a military family member. I am grateful for my health insurance, believe me, and the military health professionals I know are very caring and hardworking people - provided someone will allow you to see them. The bureaucracy is ridiculous, though, and I have opted out of this system whenever the opportunity has presented itself.

I don't understand why we have to rush to pass this particular bill right now, without knowing how it will be paid for or what services will be mandated. Would you buy a car if you didn't know how much it would cost, what options it had or how you would fund the monthly payments? Surely your health care is more important than a car!

matthias said...

Perhaps you might be interested to know that here in the State of Victoria,Australia,the scenario you just wrote about re Doctors not being allowed to use their conscience and refuse to refer patients for an abortion,which also effects nurses. There was substantial opposition from the Catholic Church,the Lutheran Church of Australia-Victorian district,and the Presbyterian Church. It got through State parliament because the 'conservative' parties remembered that they also meant to be liberal,and because a Green Upper House MP- a pretty nasty character and ex Catholic- voted in favour of it.
The upshot is that there are questions as to whether the Catholic Church would be able to operate public hospitals if the conscience aspect is removed. There was talk of a challenge being made in the High Court of Australia

Lara said...

Hmm. A lot of countries (pretty much all other Western industrialized democracies) have some government guarantee of universal health care. Do any of them force people to have abortions? Do any of them refuse to cover fetal surgeries based on the number of kids the family already has? Or refuse to cover fetal surgeries based on anything other than the likely risks and benefits of the treatment?

I have certainly never heard of anything like that. And unless that it is a pretty well-documented occurrence, I can't consider this post to be anything other than fear-mongering.