President Obama’s Medicare Welcomes the Grim Reaper
The healthcare debate is raging.
But it’s not raging enough, if you ask me.
Think about it: Politicians voting on bills they admit they haven’t read (healthcare will be no different), and a President pushing a healthcare bill that, by his own admission, has provisions that he’s “not familiar with.”
For President Obama, it’s all urgent, urgent, urgent. The time for talk is over. The time to act is now.
I suggest part of the urgency is a sleight of hand to enshrine the culture of death in law.
Why? Because bureaucratized death stalks the droning sea of its thousand-odd pages.
I’m referring, of course, to H.R. 3200, the “healthcare” bill, euphemistically described as a bill “To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.”
George Orwell, wherever he is, must be very proud.
Like my President and many of our representatives, I haven’t read the entire 1,017 pages of the bill, but I did find a chilling section that we’d better talk about.
If we don’t, and this bill becomes law, people will die at the behest of the administration’s apparatchiks, the new foot soldiers of death by paperwork, decided in dingy government offices.
Cold, remote-controlled death. 8 to 5. In your best interests, of course.
Buried on pages 424-434 of the bill, in a section headed “Advance Care Planning Consultation” the first target are those covered by Medicare.
Pop quiz: Who are the people covered by Medicare in the US?
Answer: People over 65, people with disabilities, and specifically (more in Part II) patients with end-stage kidney disease and those with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Among the usual, pious explanations about advance care directives (living wills) and health proxies (someone to decide on your behalf if you are unable to do so) is the true intent: Killing off people who cost too much.
Now it’s not written that bluntly, but it’s there, nevertheless.
Side bar: Remember that the President is on record explicitly saying that decisions are going to be made about who gets care and who doesn’t, and that the elderly and disabled will just have to suck it up when they’re on the losing (sorry, cost-effective) end.
I’ll say more in Part II, but here’s a taste:
Citizens receiving Medicare (elderly, disabled, etc.) will be required to have a mandatory “Advance Care Planning Consultation” every 5 years. That’s if you are healthy but over 65. If your medical condition deteriorates, then these consultations will become more frequent.
These “consultations” will include advice on “the continuum of end-of-life services.”
Stay tuned – “end of life services,” as defined in the bill, will include withdrawal of “artificial” nourishment and hydration.
Just saying: Let’s assume you’re in a coma. Some desk jockey reads your file. (That is, when they’re not on their union-sanctioned lunch and other breaks). You can’t eat, you can’t drink. You are on “artificial” nourishment and hydration.
This costs money. Your quality of life is poor. Others, who have a better chance at a “quality of life,” will benefit more. Rules must be followed. The law must be obeyed. The checklist must be diligently filled out. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Gotta watch the clock. Five o’clock traffic is bad.
A final thought: There’s nothing explicit about assisted suicide being on the continuum of “end-of-life-services.”
BUT: Don’t forget, in Oregon and Washington, and, for now in Montana, assisted suicide is most certainly a state-sanctioned legal “end-of-life-service.” Ask Barbara Wagner, who was denied expensive meds to comfort her terminally ill condition, but whose state commissars offered to pay for a much cheaper alternative: The drugs that would help her to commit (legal) assisted suicide.
Stay tuned for Part II, especially if you have, or will have at some point in your life, involvement with Medicare.
Prof. Mark Mostert teaches at the Regent University School of Education and is Director of Regent’s Institute for the Study of Disability & Bioethics. He is also creator of the Disability Matters blog.
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