TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First outlined four years ago by Ezekiel Emanuel, the "Complete Lives System" is likely to be a cost containment mechanism for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), writes Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Like all centrally planned systems, it involves the "R" word—redistribution. "The system basically seeks to redistribute 'life years' from older individuals to younger individuals," Dr. Huntoon explains. "The authors of the Complete Lives article claim this is not age discrimination because all individuals are subject to aging and older individuals have already lived through the age of younger individuals and thus have a greater number of life years."
Emanuel appears again in the July 24/31, 2013, issue of JAMA, wondering why physicians have not embraced proposed changes, according to Huntoon: "Emanuel says that physicians are in denial in their unwillingness to accept blame for the spiraling cost of medical care. In particular, he bemoans the physicians' failure to accept loss of autonomy, to embrace drastic cuts in income through a bundled payment system (Accountable Care Organization) under ObamaCare, and to accede to the principle of limiting access to certain treatments in the interest of preserving society's limited resources."
In Huntoon's view, the real reason for high costs, unappreciated by Emanuel, is "government intervention and total disruption of free-market principles in medicine."
Although "physicians have essentially become beaten-down hostages of an oppressive government/insurer third-party payment system," Huntoon states, it is taking longer than some expected to "break the backs of independent physicians."
It is difficult to persuade those whose earnings or access to care is taken away in a socialist redistribution scheme that the reallocation is fair, Huntoon explains, and it is not easy to extinguish the love of freedom.
The battle against the government takeover of medicine and redistribution schemes such as the Complete Lives System is far from over, he concludes.
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943.