Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're All Going to Die

"The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." — Sarah Palin, 2009

"Paranoia is just another word for ignorance." — Hunter S. Thompson, 2004
Let's get the facts out. America's Affordable Health Choices Act does not create "death panels." Some conservatives have dismissed Palin's claims, including now FOX's Neil Cavuto. Crazy Cavuto isn't even on your side, Sarah.

The wild-eyed fears are over Sec. 1233 - Advance care planning consultation. An analysis of the bill produced by the three relevant House committees explains:
Sec. 1233. Advance care planning consultation. Provides coverage for consultation between enrollees and practitioners to discuss orders for life-sustaining treatment. Instructs CMS to modify ‘Medicare & You’ handbook to incorporate information on end-of-life planning resources and to incorporate measures on advance care planning into the physician’s quality reporting initiative.
There is no requirement that anybody have end-of-life planning. However, this type of counseling has been a standard recommendation for senior citizens. My grandma had it back in 1994. She was 79 and her heart was failing. She knew that physically she couldn't tolerate a heart operation and that she didn't want any more treatment. She could have just as easily told her doctors that she wanted to live on life support. But the point is that she was informed of her options and prognosis, and the key to that is the consultation where your doctors discuss these issues with you and find out what you want!

And notice I said "your doctors" and not "government." You won't be having this conversation with a government bureaucrat. That's just right-wing lunacy. In reality land, the government will pay your doctor for the time spent consulting you.

We're all going to die. It's nothing new.

However, the fear-mongers conveniently forget that our current system of free-market private insurers already forces many of these end-of-life decisions on us. The scariest systems are the ones that don't follow the patient's wishes.

Like in Texas, for example, where their Advance Directives Act allows a health care facility to discontinue life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or guardian. George W. Bush signed that one into law while he was governor, and then his successor, Rick Perry, amended the law to apply to children. Since then, the law has been used to withdraw life support from an infant against the wishes of the parents. Remind me again why we call these Republicans "pro-life"?

You know, Sarah Palin is partly right. Such a system is evil. Hopefully every one of us will have quality, affordable options when healthcare reform is passed.


Susan said...

I am SO glad to find another like-minded blogger. Nice, thorough explanation!

fabutastic said...

No arguing with Sarah Palin! Death panels are inevitable. The only question is who will sit on them. Here are my votes:

Bellatrix Lestrange
Ming the Merciless
and for the tiebreaker,
Dr. Evil