By Susan Johnson
This is the third part of a report given on
Real Healthcare Reform: Power to the People,
hosted by Concerned Citizens for America, Aug. 3, 2009, at Stockholm Inn Restaurant in Rockford.
Guest speaker was Dr. Mark Kellen, president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He was accompanied by Dr. Errol Baptist, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.. He has been awarded the Raymond B. Allen Instructorship Award 23 times. In 1997, he received the U of I college of Medicine Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2006 he was awarded the college’s Distinguished Service Award. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ceylon, Colombo, and received his pediatric training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. Dr. Baptist is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics, and a Fellow of the American College of Pediatricians. He is widely published in medical journals and is the author of a textbook for medical students
For the last 10 years, Dr. Kellen has been a staff anesthesiologist and taught at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford. He is also active with Rockford Lutheran Schools Foundation.
Following the main lecture, Dr. Kellen took questions from the audience. We now continue with this part of the program.
Special interests want something
What about investing in prevention and wellness? Dr. Kellen likes to teach diet and nutrition.
What they mean by prevention is, all the special interests will line up in Washington saying, ‘What about my Pap smear, my mammogram, my MRI?’ They will transfer it out of Medicare so we can transfer it into preventive medicine to pay for all these special interests.
No one in this room can solve this health care system as a group, but all of us making our own individual decisions in our own best interests [can]. No one in Washington bureaucracy can come up with a plan for everyone. What we need to do is move away from centralized control to opening up the system to individualized control. There are lots of people with lots of ideas, and we need to give them all a voice.
Q: Is there a section in the proposal that urges senior citizens to consider suicide?
I don’t see any language that mandates anythingbut the reality is, if the proposal sets up these strong standards for what constitutes long-term care, and we train our medical students to think this way, we train a group of people to think for the collective, and you’ve lost that personal patient and physician relationship. I’ve seen comments about forcing euthanasia. It does not do that, but it puts the idea in people’s minds. If the government is running things, we no longer have a medical clinic, we have a veterinary clinic. If you take your puppy to the clinic, he doesn’t have a say. The government doesn’t love you. The government becomes the clinic; if these doctors train their entire lives, they talk to the clinic about what to do with you, the poor puppy.
Q: The purpose of business is to make a profit. If they can’t do it, they will be out of business.
You touch on a couple subjects. One is insurance. The Congress tomorrow could change insurance if they let you purchase it in different ways. Why couldn’t you purchase it from any state you want to? You should be able to buy a policy from them. The government doesn’t compete with anybody. They dominate it.
A woman in the audience referred to the
Freedom of Choice Act
in the interpretation of the bill. She read that if the bill passes, abortion will be considered basic health care, and if you refuse to do it, you can be arrested. A Catholic hospital could be shut down.
My understanding is, the language itself says that family planning is a mandatory benefit. The politicians are too smart to put what you just said in the bill. But they figure someone will bring the case to court, and the judge will legislate from the bench and add to the bill. You put something in that’s vague and let the judge fill in the detail.
We need to divorce everything from the work force. Let people decide what they do with their money. They need to change their law so that any group could purchase insurance. It’s illegal now for your church to buy insurance together. We should have more opportunities. You don’t have to change a thing in the present health care systemjust say it’s legal for a private group to be a purchaser of health care. If we’re going to reform the system, we need to do it in ways that are patient-centered, not third-party-centered.
Q: What drives health care costs?
1) Personal behavior; 2) You’re never spending your own money; 3) The governmentrules and regulations are immense. In many ways, the rules could be altered to save people money. You can order your own blood test at www.directlabs.com. We should have the freedom to avoid an office visit if it’s not necessary to get a regular prescription.
Dr. Baptist answered a question about abortion. He said that Obama had addressed Planned Parenthood, was in favor of taxpayer-funded abortion, and had promised that the first thing he would do after election was to sign the FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act). There has been opposition by Catholics and other Christian groups, but Dr. Baptist noted that Obama is sneaking the FOCA into this bill.
We are very naive to say it is not there—it is there,
Some lawyer somewhere can say, ‘I found abortion in the Constitution,’ but it is not there. If he [Obama] packs the Supreme Court with his own people, this will pass.
In a separate interview, Dr. Baptist spoke to The Rock River Times explaining his position.
My specialty is pediatrics. I spend a lot of my time reviving premature babies, and it is horrendous to me that we could have even in this country a law saying it is legal to kill these babies. Right now, it is legal to kill babies right up to the time of birthnine months.
There are two laws. One is Roe vs. Wade [ruled] in 1973, and the same day the justices of the Supreme Court heard the case of Doe vs. Bolton, that enables abortion right to term. The president has said before that he was upset when the Supreme Court overturned partial-birth abortion. He was in favor of that. It is where the baby is pulled out and a hole is drilled in the base of the skull. The brains are suctioned out, and the baby is dragged out dead.
Not only is Obama in favor of partial-birth abortion; he is also in favor of live-birth abortion or born-alive abortion. When he was in the Illinois Senate, he opposed the law that would ban born-alive abortionthe Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA).
There’s emotion and there’s reason. Most people look at abortion from an emotional point of view, not reason. If you reason it out, how can anybody kill a baby? Recently in Rockford, a little baby was killed by her mother. There was a big outrage in the city, but no outrage for all the babies being killed at the abortion clinic.
After the program, Dr. Kellen was questioned about his opinion of the proposed swine flu (H1N1) vaccination. He said,
I do not favor mandatory vaccination..
Dr. Kellen also submitted this statement to The Rock River Times:
The biggest disinformation that no one talks about is that the purpose of the bill is not to provide medical care. The purpose of the bill is that the government is looking for more revenue. They want to take all the revenue out of the private medical care area because the government is heading for bankruptcy. Over the next 10 years, they expect to add $10 trillion to the debt.
From the October 7-13, 2009 issue