In the time of the Roman Legions there was one particularly brutal way to ensure no one deserted it’s ranks. The exact size of the punished unit would vary by incident, but in each case a lottery was employed. If there were just ten men selected, they would draw lots and one man would be selected for death. It would fall to the other nine to beat him to death with clubs and such. Hence we have the English term decimation.
It seems the Senators of the Washington DC swamplands wants to resurrect this ancient rite of the Roman era. But this time they want to employ it against the doctors who have sworn an oath to do no harm and to fight for their patient’s life.
There are already indications that any Democrat written health care bill that does not explicitly exclude performing abortions will force the Catholic Church to shut down 600 hospitals it runs on purely moral grounds. Nor will the Catholic Church sell said hospitals for the same moral reasons. Then there is the recent poll that indicates up to 45% of the currently practicing doctors will simply quit if any of the current Democrat health plans are enacted.
Now that I have laid out the foundations and walls of this vexing issue, I will now to get that which covers the roof in thorns for doctors. On page 80 and 81 of Sen. Baucus’ proposed ‘compromise’ health bill is this gem: "Beginning in 2015, payment would be reduced by five percent if an aggregation of the physician's resource use is at or above the 90th percentile of national utilization." You see if your doctor is the dedicated sort who wants his patients to live and he uses so much of the now government controlled resources that he is ranked in the top 10%, the government will cut his re-imbursements by 5%. And it will be accountants looking at pure numbers who will be making the call. If anyone wants to talk about the calculus of death, this is it.
This little sentence created by Democrats will put those doctors who are still working into a serious ethical quandary. Do the doctors stay true to the Hippocratic Oath and honestly try to save lives or do they just become medical drones issuing aspirin to cancer patients in order to keep costs down?