Thursday, August 13, 2009

Even If It's Not A Death Panel, It Doesn't Belong in Medicare

Maybe Sarah Palin went a little off the deep end with the "death panel" remarks, but counselling patients on end-of-life care is still none of the government's business: Yours truly at National Review Online.

2 comments:

Don said...

There are other problems with the proposal that include the health effectiveness research element and the potential to link "ethical" considerations to the decisions on effectiveness. In European countries, particularly the Netherlands, the value of the individual's live is considered in determining whether life-saving treatments are worthwhile or effective. Since the government pays for both counseling and for treatments, and since there are necessarily limits on available funds, the incentives are in favor of recommending that patients not pursue aggressive treatment if they are not likely to return to full capacity.

These considerations are particularly frightening for the disabled and the elderly. Mr. Emmanuel has openly written about the notion that a 25 year old is worthy of more treatment than an older person, and Gov. Lamm, Representative Ellison, Mr. Daschel and many other Democrats have written or spoken about how expensive it is to die. Finally, there is widespread discussion of compensating doctors and hospitals with a flat fee for annual service, and there will be strong incentives to minimize cost of services delivered under that model. In combination, the direction is very consistent with defacto death panels.

Bill R said...

The idea of "Death Panels" didn't come from Sarah Palin. It canme from Barak Obama himself. Here he is explaining the concept in an April interview in the New York Times.

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THE PRESIDENT: ... If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn't have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life - that would be pretty upsetting.

LEONHARDT: And it's going to be hard for people who don't have the option of paying for it.

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.
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It's interesting that the president excludes clergy from the "panels" and instead includes "ethicists". The most prominent "ethicist" in America is a Princeton professor named Peter Singer. Singer believes, among other things, that it's immoral to use animals for food but quite OK to use them for sex. He's an avid proponent of abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide. Here's just one of the many charming quotes from America's leading "ethicist".

"killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person"

Wonderful.