December 4 2012

How About Vending-Machine Medicine?

Vicki E. Alger

At the Democratic National Convention, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted that when it comes to ObamaCare, “no matter who you are, what stage of life you're in, this law is a good thing.” A more accurate prediction is that government-run healthcare threatens the most vulnerable.

Sick babies in England’s National Health Service hospitals are being put on “death pathways” because their illnesses are too expensive to treat under a rationed-“care” regime. As the Daily Mail reported,

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime…was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

So what began as starving “only” (!) the elderly is now spreading to children and infants.

But this in the Unites States of America. That can’t happen here!

Besides, doesn’t ObamaCare offer free annual doctor’s visits? That’s a great thing for women, right? Yes…about those “free visits.” Peter Weiss M.D., is Director and Founder of The Rodeo Drive Women's Health Center. Here’s what he has to say (any women out there who voted for the president this past election on “lady parts” grounds, listen up):

I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam—no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code…This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code—insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code—that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.

You, the patient, will then have to make a decision.

Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss.

Hardly a victory for women’s health or anyone else’s.

If we’re going to allow politicians to ration healthcare—and crowd out the medical professionals who practice it—then get ready for vending machine medicine.

Sound crazy? We can already get our blood pressure checked at the local drug store if we want. But there are plenty of prototypes for ObamaCare.

Beverly Hills Caviar rolled out a touch-screen vending machine that dispenses caviar, truffles, escargot, and other gourmet items ranging from $50 to $500. A1 Concepts unveiled a vending machine that dispenses made-to-order, from scratch pizza in three minutes. Custom machines also now deliver anything from mashed potatoes and cupcakes to live crabs and pet rhinoceros beetles. Had a bad day? There’s a vending machine to help with that, too. It dispenses plates and other breakables for cranky customers to smash.

So why not free vending machines for healthcare? Select your ailments from the touch-screen. Place your head on the temperature scanner, raise your arms for a full body x-ray (hey, it’s working great at airports, right?), and stick your finger out so a needle can extract a quick blood sample. Pull the privacy curtain around to give other fluid samples, or have more delicate screenings done. Answer a few more pre-fab follow-up questions and viola! You’re diagnosed in minutes and the machine spits out a prescription or meds.

A complimentary pre-recorded reminder from the First Lady would also remind you to lose weight and eat healthier foods.

Best of all, if the machine decides you’re just too expensive to help, you’ll have 30 seconds to step away before the floor gives way and swallows you up. But don’t fret: you’re just giving your fair share under rationed healthcare.

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