* The new Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384) has come and hopefully will go Lhe way of the pet rock. Everybody now knows the basics: the government will take care of all medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, and long-term care services with no out-of-pocket expenses. The bill prohibits parallel private insurance, and has the glaring absence of a financing mechanism.
But as usual, bills contain hidden gems. Section 104 of the bill tracks the Affordable Care Act's "anti-discrimination" rule, making it clear that no person can be denied benefits, specifically including abortion and treatment of gender identity issues "by any participating provider." The bill does not correspondingly reaffirm the federal laws protecting conscience and First Amendment religious freedom rights of medical personnel. Such protections relate to participation in abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide, and other ethical dilemmas.
Most sane individuals agree that we do not want our government to control any aspect of our individual lives--particularly not our religious beliefs and moral codes. When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sought to clarify such conscience protections, thousands of commenters offered evidence of discrimination and coercion to violate the tenets of the Oath of Hippocrates and their own ethics. Some left their jobs or left the medical profession entirely when their conscientious objections were not honored.
Conscience protections are vital in this time of unabashed devaluing of life. Last year, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act (PCHETA), passed the House but died in the Senate. This bill would have dedicated $100 million in additional taxpayer dollars to persuade patients to forgo treatment that might prolong life in exchange for a steady stream of increasing doses of narcotics. Already some families feel they are not merely offered hospice as a choice but are steered toward it when their older relatives fall ill, even when the medical prognosis is uncertain.
The focus on palliative care and lowering costs by reducing "aggressive" end-of-life treatment is one more incremental under-the-radar step along the road to government control over life and death. A culture of hastening death has gradually evolved, disguised as "death with dignity." California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont have legalized physician-assisted suicide with 20 other states considering implementing such laws.