So Sarah Palin was excoriated in the media as some kind of fool for saying she didn't want her son or anyone else to have to stand before a "death panel" which would judge his worthiness to receive health care. Yet the uproar she caused by pointing out that care would necessarily be rationed under any government-run system was such that Obama felt compelled to answer her in one of his scripted, staged "town hall" speeches.
The best the supposedly great orator could do was ridicule, not reply -- and the people understood that. They understood even better when Palin produced another Facebook comment lashing out at the provision which mandated that doctors initiate end-of-life counseling sessions. So -- in the Senate version, at least -- the provision was removed.
Not too bad for a stupid, marginalised, quitter ex-Governor from a backwater state who supposedly gave up her place on the national stage and killed her own political career, is it?
However, the person who originally (at least, in the current debate) brought up the idea of health care being rationed out by a group of individuals not directly answerable to the people was not Sarah Palin, but Barack Obama himself, in April of 2009. As Tom Maguire pointed out in the blog Just One Minute, "Obama actually advocated end-of-life panels issuing voluntary guidelines with Timesman David Leonhardt, as reported in the (New York) Times."
THE PRESIDENT: So that's where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that's also a huge driver of cost, right?
I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.
LEONHARDT: So how do you — how do we deal with it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It's not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that's part of what I suspect you'll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.
Personally, I don't want an "independent group" either inside or outside "the normal political channels" to give me any "guidance" regarding my personal health care decisions. The inevitable direction such "guidance" takes is already known in countries that have instituted government-run health care systems. Even the stalwarts in Great Britain are beginning to admit that "what the Americans have is, for the most part, better than the NHS." The new president of the Canadian Medical Association says of her fellow physicians, "We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize." Health care in Canada and the United Kingdom have been held up by the Left as examples we should follow down the path to socialised medicine. Is that really a good idea, when medical horror stories keep emerging from those and the other countries which have preceded us?
Closer to home, maybe you should ask Barbara Wagner what a "death panel" looks like. She knows. Oregon has had state-run health care for a while, and this is what happens to people who need expensive treatments but are not considered worth treating:
Her doctor offered hope in the new chemotherapy drug Tarceva, but the Oregon Health Plan sent her a letter telling her the cancer treatment was not approved.
Instead, the letter said, the plan would pay for comfort care, including "physician aid in dying," better known as assisted suicide.
Wagner's life was saved by one of those evil drug companies who, according to Obama, only act in pursuit of the almighty dollar... like those evil doctors he claimed perform unnecessary tests, then casually remove patients' feet and tonsils just for money. Under a national health care system, Barbara Wagner -- and a whole lot of people whose lives are not considered "cost-effective" to save by a huge, soulless bureaucracy -- would be sentenced to death.
The White House is now talking about removing the "government option" from the health care bill and replacing it with a "co-op" system that will be staffed, funded and managed by the government. Supposedly, we are told, that's different from government-run health care. So instead of directly managing our health care, the government will set up a Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac-type fake independent agency to do it -- and to take the heat when the system inevitably fails, as it is doing in Canada and UK. Just like Fannie/Freddie, the government can then "solve the problem" by reabsorbing the agency.
Once health care becomes a "right," it will be impossible to stop the slide into bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption, inevitably leading to unnecessary suffering and death. We need to stop this before it's too late.
21 Aug 09 UPDATE: Here's a local tv news report on Barbara Wagner's story. The money quote (no pun intended) is from Dr. Som Saha, chairman of the commission that sets policy for the Oregon Health Plan: "If we invest thousands and thousands of dollars in one person's days to weeks ... we are taking away those dollars from someone." Alright, so it's a death commission, not a death panel. Big difference.
Posted at Monday, August 17, 2009 by CavalierX