Obamacare Rationing Czar Ezekiel Emanuel: Skip Your Annual Physical

National   Wesley J. Smith   Jan 13, 2015   |   11:50AM    Washington, DC

You cannot make this stuff up. First, Obamacare’s chief bioethicist, Ezekiel Emanuel, wrote that he wanted to die at 75–strongly implying we should too.

Now, he is telling you to be as good as he is by refusing your annual Obamacare checkup. From his NYT piece,“Skip Your Annual Physical:”

Not having my annual physical is one small way I can help reduce health care costs — and save myself time, worry and a worthless exam. Around 45 million Americans are likely to have a routine physical this year — just as they have for many years running.

A poke here, a listen there, a few tubes of blood, maybe an X-ray, a few reassuring words about diet, exercise and not smoking from the doctor, all just to be sure everything is in good working order. Most think of it as the human equivalent of a 15,000-mile checkup and fluid change, which can uncover hidden problems and ensure longer engine life.

There is only one problem: From a health perspective, the annual physical exam is basically worthless.

Ezekiel J. EmanuelIf it is so worthless, then why in the hell did Obamacarians fight so damn hard to require insurance companies pay for a yearly ”wellness” exam? Because they wanted us to think we are getting something valuable without charge? Even though that “something” is worthless? Now, that is cynical.

Or maybe, to hurt us?

Some are actually hurt by physicals, because healthy patients who undergo an exam sometimes end up with complications and pain from further screening or confirmatory tests.

Funny, I didn’t hear Emanuel shouting this warning during the Obamacare Congressional debate. When he was in the bowels of the beast, why didn’t he work to keep the free annual checkup out of Obamacare’s required coverage?

What’s really going on? Cost control!

The checkups consume billions, although no one is sure exactly how many billions because of the challenge of measuring the additional screenings and follow-up tests.

If the annual physical is so worthless–indeed harmful--why isn’t Emanuel urging his pals in government to remove the annual wellness exam from required Obamacare coverage? Why didn’t he suggest this course in his article? 

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We aren’t individuals anymore, but so many accounts payable. But here’s the thing:

– My neighbor’s blood test portion of his annual checkup discovered a touch of anemia, which led to the search for a cause, uncovering colon cancer. He had no symptoms. That “worthless” physical might have saved his life.

– A good friend learned during his “worthless” annual physical that he had prostate cancer.

– A family member–in excellent shape–was determined to have diabetes during his physical, leading to steps that have kept him off insulin so far.

– My mother was diagnosed with high blood pressure for the first time in her then 96 years. Now 97, her BP is under good control.

Emanuel writes that studies indicate there is no real difference in death rates among patients who receive or don’t receive yearly checkups. Perhaps, but so what? That isn’t the only measure.

There is no question that the lives some individuals are saved–which he acknowledges. But too few to matter, he says. And we owe it to others not to be among those supposed few:

My medical routine won’t include an annual exam. That will free up countless hours of doctors’ time for patients who really do have a medical problem, helping to ensure there is no doctor shortage as more Americans get health insurance.

This is the consequence of Obamacare: We aren’t human beings anymore, just cohorts and statistical categories.

Technocrats: You’d laugh–except they are in charge.

And the ruling class wonders why no one trusts them anymore.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.