Daylife/AP Photo use by permission
Few people hold a more uncomfortable place at the health care debate’s intersection between nuanced policy and cable-ready political rhetoric than President Obama’s special health care adviser, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel.
Largely quoting his past writings out of context this summer, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, labeled Dr. Emanuel a “deadly doctor” who believes health care should be “reserved for the nondisabled” — a false assertion that Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, repeated on the House floor…
In fact, Dr. Emanuel has written more than a million words on health care, some of which form the philosophical underpinnings of the Obama administration plan and some of which have enough free-market elements to win grudging respect from some conservative opponents.
The debate over Dr. Emanuel shows how subtle philosophical arguments that have long bedeviled bioethicists are being condensed, oversimplified and distorted in the griddle-hot health care debate. His writings grapple with some of the most complex issues of medical ethics, like who should get the kidney transplant, the younger patient or the one who is older and sicker..?
“He is a serious oncologist and bioethicist, so the kinds of charges that have been raised against him are particularly inappropriate,” said Gail R. Wilensky, a Republican and senior White House health care adviser under the first President George Bush who criticizes Mr. Obama’s plan as being too reliant on the federal government…
Dr. Emanuel’s argument — that young adults should take priority in vying for limited health resources because they will get more years of life from them — is a fairly mainstream if unpleasant approach to a problem with only bad choices, ethicists and doctors of varying persuasions say.
“These kinds of dilemmas go on every day in clinical practice,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a physician and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group. “There’s a very big leap to say his contemplations about how doctors contend with these issues extends to saying he believes government should take on these issues.”
RTFA. Decide your own opinion based on fact rather than the distortions and lies still part of right-wing Republican culture.
I include the proviso “right-wing” though, frankly, I believe that’s all that remains under the populist pup tent.