A respected medical specialist has carefully reviewed the healthcare reform bill in the U.S. House, and he declares that it would amount to a virtual "draft" of doctors into the government's "public option" health insurance program.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, a renowned neurosurgeon, book author and editor of the Blaylock Wellness Report published by Newsmax, also warns that "death panels" could lead to the rationing of medical care to the elderly and a "violation of the Hippocratic Oath."
In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Dr. Blaylock points to other ominous provisions in the bill, HR 3200, which he says would:Jeopardize the confidentiality of patients' medical records, including psychiatric reports.
The Senate's version of healthcare reform is slated to be voted on by the Finance Committee on Tuesday. But the House bill has already been approved by several committees and is sure to play a major role in any conference by the House and Senate to reconcile the bills those bodies pass.
Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella noted that under the House bill, physicians would be drafted into the public option, a provision Dr. Blaylock has earlier called "conscription."
This bill "is virtually a draft because it says all physicians are automatically in the public option unless they opt out, and the opt out mechanism will be later determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services," Dr. Blaylock said.
"Well, we don't know how difficult it will be for physicians to opt out. Will there be penalties, fines, taxes, etc.? Because that's all left up to the Secretary."
He added on that score: "One of the things that concerns the legal minds of this country is that any bill that contains arbitrary language can be interpreted after it's passed any way they want to. And in this bill, virtually every page gives arbitrary powers to the Secretary of Health and Human Services."
Blaylock warned that under the House bill, hospital readmissions will be very restricted.
"One of the things they targeted to save money was to punish hospitals and physicians if they readmit a patient within a month of them being treated in an emergency room," he said.
"The effect of that is going to be that doctors are not going to want to treat these patients, hospitals are not going to want to treat these patients. It's going to cost hospitals a considerable amount of money as well as the physicians in fines if a patient comes back readmitted.
"Now the people who are going to be readmitted are people with chronic illnesses, the elderly, the disabled. Those are the people who are going to have complications occur within that month period. And why should hospitals and physicians be punished for that?
"They're not going to want to treat these patients. They're going to want to refer them quickly to another facility. And that's one of the biggest problems we have, patients being bounced around."
Martella asked about a controversial provision in the bill for so-called end of life counseling, which critics have charged would set up "death panels."
"This caused a lot of controversy, on so-called death panels and whether this advanced healthcare planning was actually required," Dr. Blaylock said.
"But it says very specifically on pages 424 through 428 that these sessions will be part of the normal medical practice. Therefore it's not voluntary.
"So every patient of a certain age will have to undergo this counseling. And further, in really frightening language, this bill [stipulates] that the people doing the counseling will be specially trained and approved by the federal government. They'll supply films, brochures, pamphlets — the data the patients are being exposed to.
"If you look at a lot of this literature now, what it says is that these patients will be encouraged to end their life early rather than take extraordinary medical treatments.
"For instance, if you're 65, 70 years old and you have congestive heart failure, in their view you really should make the decision that you don't want any further treatment, that it would be best for you and your family.
"And if you couch it that way you can convince a lot of patients through guilt that they really shouldn't be spending the money that it's going to cost their family as well as the country at large. So this is a very dangerous precedent. This is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath...
"But then the health czar, Ezekiel Emanuel, has said that physicians are too obsessed with this Hippocratic Oath. And if you read his papers on this subject, he clearly states that the elderly should just make the decision that they don't want any further treatment and go ahead and meet their end.
"The Hastings Center that he writes for, and that he's on the advisory panel for, clearly [states] that patients need to just reject any kind of extraordinary healthcare, or just ordinary healthcare, and accept that they're going to die. To me that is under the definition of a death panel.
"If you look at the socialist countries, for instance National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union, they had very similar policies. They just didn't treat these people."
Dr. Blaylock is also concerned about the huge amount of paperwork the bill would require from medical practitioners.
"Those of us who have practiced medicine for a lot of years know that in the last 15 years, progressively, there's been so many requirements for the reporting of virtually everything," he said.
"This bill expands it enormously, so that physicians are not going to have time to do patient care to the extent that they should. They're not going to be able to follow up on their post-graduation education or attend seminars, because they're going to spend time documenting everything.
"They have to document any interaction with any federal bureaucracy or any other entity that they contract with. They have to determine whether there's a fraud risk. They're fined if fraud is found later, even though they're just referring a patient to an outpatient facility. They have to do quality assessments continuously.
"Now that's going to cause doctors to spend enormous amounts of time documenting all this and I don't see how they can even do it. The paperwork is absolutely enormous."
Martella asked if that record-keeping would encroach on doctor-patient confidentiality.
"Certainly. Whether you use patient code, patient names, all that is to be determined later. None of that is spelled out in this bill. So it has the potential, particularly in regard to the financial records that have to be supplied, of putting at risk your financial data, your medical data, if you've seen a psychiatrist, if you've had any kind of infectious disease that you don't want anyone to know about."
Under the bill, "all this information is available to a lot of eyes at every level and all sorts of bureaucracies, and it can leak out."
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