I have a friend who is a third year medical student. His view on providing government-run “free” healthcare is that is makes sense if people follow a few lifestyle best practices that address the root cause of most medical problems.

The basic rules of his “dream plan”:
-You don’t smoke
-You don’t do drugs
-You don’t drink to excess
-You don’t participate in risky sex behaviors
-You have a BMI less than 30
-You exercise at least 30 minutes each day

The patient’s ability to keep these best practices would be monitored as part of a free care contract signed by the patient. Each benefactor would have to undergo annual screenings to see if they continued to qualify for free care. If they broke any of these rules then they would have to start paying for their plan for the following year. Anyone who does not meet the criteria will pay for their healthcare until they qualify at their next annual checkup by meeting all of the requirements.

The primary purpose of this plan is patient-driven preventative lifestyle change, since most medical problems seen each day in the doctor’s office are related in some shape or fashion to the plan’s stipulations. This is not discriminatory for people that don’t qualify immediately because anyone can qualify if they choose to make lifestyle changes. You don’t need money to quit doing things or to run around the block a few times every day.

Ideally those who qualify for the free care will be the ones who spend the least amount of public dollars on health care since they are healthy by virtue of avoiding all those things that cause chronic, debilitating disease. The plan would also encourage those who are not living a healthy lifestyle to change, since they will essentially be paid to do so.

If it had to happen, this seems to make sense. However, the greater issue in the healthcare debate is about choice. Once the government becomes involved, it will eventually crowd out all private industry and force its morality upon us.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the health-policy advisor at the Office of Management and Budget, member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, and brother of Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, is an Obama healthcare advisor. He has written:

Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years

Or in graphical form, this is the “Complete Lives System” that Dr. Emanuel advocates:

The amount of resources or medical expenditures that your life is worth is dependent wholly upon your age. At some point, you will simply be medicated until you die off. Why the AARP is promoting this plan, though strangely without “officially” supporting it (while the President apparently believes they do), is beyond me.

President Obama’s advisers think their opinions on human life are superior to ours. I am willing only to give credence for that opinion to God, who we know is, “no respecter of persons.” Please keep your hand off of my healthcare and my life decisions.

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