The Hippocratic oath gets in the way

Betsy McCaughey tells how an administration health care planner thinks the Hippocratic Oath is getting in the way:

Patients count on their doctor to do whatever is possible to treat their illness. That is the promise doctors make by taking the Hippocratic Oath.

But President Obama’s advisers are looking to save money by interfering with that oath and controlling your doctor’s decisions.

Ezekiel Emanuel sees the Hippocratic Oath as one factor driving “overuse” of medical care. He is a policy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and a brother of Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff.

Dr. Emanuel argues that “peer recognition goes to the most thorough and aggressive physicians.” He has lamented that doctors regard the “Hippocratic Oath’s admonition to ‘use my power to help the patient to the best of my ability and judgment’ as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.”

Of course, that is what patients hope their doctor will do.

But President Barack Obama is pledging to rein in the nation’s health care spending. The framework for influencing your doctor’s decisions was included in the stimulus package, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The legislation sets a goal that every individual’s treatments will be recorded by computer, and your doctor will be guided by electronically delivered protocols on “appropriate” and “cost-effective” care.

HT: Strange Herring

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    This is another example of the Obama administration’s shallow, populist thinking on important issues. Should anyone doubt this read Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband in an article Why ‘Quality’ Care Is Dangerous
    The growing number of rigid protocols meant to guide doctors have perverse consequences
    including:

    The Obama administration is working with Congress to mandate that all Medicare payments be tied to “quality metrics.” But an analysis of this drive for better health care reveals a fundamental flaw in how quality is defined and metrics applied. In too many cases, the quality measures have been hastily adopted, only to be proven wrong and even potentially dangerous to patients.

    Dr. Groopman, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and Dr. Hartzband are on the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

  • Peter Leavitt

    This is another example of the Obama administration’s shallow, populist thinking on important issues. Should anyone doubt this read Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband in an article Why ‘Quality’ Care Is Dangerous
    The growing number of rigid protocols meant to guide doctors have perverse consequences
    including:

    The Obama administration is working with Congress to mandate that all Medicare payments be tied to “quality metrics.” But an analysis of this drive for better health care reveals a fundamental flaw in how quality is defined and metrics applied. In too many cases, the quality measures have been hastily adopted, only to be proven wrong and even potentially dangerous to patients.

    Dr. Groopman, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and Dr. Hartzband are on the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pardon me. The link above is here/

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pardon me. The link above is here/


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