Growing controversy over euthanasia aspect of healthcare plan

There has been much talk the last few days on treatment of the elderly under the Obama healthcare plan. Was the 1973 movie Soylent Green (which I remember well and which freaked me out a tad), about life in the year 2022, prophetic?

Yesterday on Fox an AARP rep defended his organization's support of Obamacare despite a section mandating an end-of-life conversation with one's dr. The rep argued Medicare currently doesn't cover such chats so they're not happening. Obamacare simply ties up a reimbursement loophole, he said.

Hogwash. Fred Thompson has an op ed in today's Washington Times taking on the euthanasia component of Obamacare. First, Thompson reiterates the Left's argument, which the AARP mouthpiece parroted, and of which you should be aware...

The basic position of the bill's proponents seems to be that these consultations are totally voluntary, that seniors should have the benefit of such end-of-life consultations and that the consultation provision is nothing more than to get doctors reimbursed when a consultation occurs at the patient's request....

Thompson, a former senator who understands legislative language, explains this is misleading at best and flat out false at worst:

[T]he statute... strictly prescribes in mandatory language what must be included in the consultation as well as what may be included.

Poignantly, continued Thompson:

Seniors are reminded daily by the media that Medicare is going broke, that the country must cut Medicare costs and that the last days of life are by far the most expensive. Now they are being told by the administration - one that has been less than transparent on this bill and a host of other issues - that this bill will cut Medicare costs. They are learning that they are "coincidentally" being asked about end-of-life issues at the government's behest, perhaps by a stranger who is receiving Medicare reimbursement payments. How long do you think it will take a Medicare patient to figure out which decisions will cost the government money and which will save the government money?

charmaine_wnd.jpgDr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life is also addressing this issue, pointing to specific language in the healthcare bill.

Yoest asks why, if these fears are unfounded, have Democrat-controlled committees repeatedly blocked amendments ensuring there is no rationing of care or even taxpayer funded assisted suicides:

Health care reform must respect life, and not contain provisions that mandate or encourage the withdrawal or curtailment of effective life-sustaining treatment to the terminally ill, the chronically ill, or the permanently disabled....

Section 1233 of the House bill includes vague, federally mandated end-of-life counseling. We are concerned that such counseling might put subtle pressure on patients to make decisions not on sound medical bases but in order to conserve costs. Additionally, the bill does not define terms such as "palliative care" and "end-of-life services," raising the question of whether a discussion about euthanasia might even be mandated.

Section 2707 of the Senate HELP bill requires that insurers develop and implement a reimbursement structure for making payments to healthcare providers that includes incentives for use of evidence based medicine and best clinical practices. This and other provisions in the bill create the possibility that health care coverage determinations could be based on a patient's health status, age, and/or quality of life. The resulting structure could become a means of advocating for the least expensive treatment at the expense of respect for life. With cost as a primary driver, the elderly, sick, and disabled may find their options for care severely limited.

Supporters of the healthcare reform bills claim that the legislation will not lead to the withdrawal or curtailment of life-sustaining healthcare, or put pressure on doctors and patients to hasten death. However, amendments offered in the Senate HELP Committee to address these concerns were defeated, including the following:

  1. amendments to prevent the denial of end of life care and prohibit rationing on the basis of patient age, disability, medical dependency, or quality of life;

  2. an amendment to ensure that taxpayers were not forced to fund assisted suicide;

  3. an amendment that would have prevented private health insurers from being prohibited from covering treatment;

  4. an amendment that would have ensured all individuals have access to essential health benefits; and

  5. an amendment that would have required certification that participating plans do not have a pattern of practice or denying coverage based on their age, expected length of life, and disability.
If the supporters of these healthcare reform measures do not intend to withdraw or curtail life-sustaining healthcare for many patients, why are they unwilling to include clarifying language in the bills?...


Comments:

This is the scary thing about single payer systems. The U.S. needs reform, but not the kind that will ration care. We need to use the Swiss health care model. It will provide universal coverage and reduce costs while maintaining quality and patient choice with no rationing.

Posted by: lily at August 5, 2009 10:49 AM


End of life decisions are difficult enough at best, e.g. how to continue food and fluids, medication, comfort measures, etc. without the specter of "cost cutting measures" entering in to muddy the waters.
Most of my elderly patients have been the givers all their lives. For them, receiving is hard enough. Making them feel like a burden is so wrong, so dehumanizing.
And turning healthcare workers into subtle executioners is turning back the clock to pre-Hippocratic times! God help us!

Posted by: mamatunes at August 5, 2009 11:10 AM


End of life decisions are difficult

Yep, and people sometimes change their minds. Unless I missed it, there's nothing in the bill that asserts a patient's right to override verbally anything previously agreed to in writing should he decide in a crisis he wants more care than indicated in his advance directive or life sustaining treatment orders.

Posted by: Fed Up at August 5, 2009 11:37 AM


It would seem the real face of America is being unmasked. How can AARP be so deluded as to believe the CONs in CONgress could care anything about the welfare of seniors? We are entering the Ebenezer Scrooge Era of American history where the new mantra of CONgress regarding senior's welfare is now "better to reduce the surplus population".

Why would anyone trust the CONgress with our healthcare? They couldn't manage their way out of a wet paper bag, after all they are the same people who have single handedly, for personal gain, ruined our economy and futures!! And now their greed is manifesting itself in a "Soylent Green" like manifesto.

Best way to educate AARP in liberal liability, cancel your memberships!

Posted by: Pam at August 5, 2009 1:53 PM


why are they unwilling to include clarifying language in the bills?

Maybe Dr Emanuel, one of PBHO's advisors, doesn't want it too specific? Scroll to 5:55 of this video.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w4f04zrF2s

See also

euthanasia.procon.org/viewsource.asp?ID=000533

defendyourhealthcare.us/dremanuelnypost.html

Posted by: Fed Up at August 5, 2009 1:55 PM


Excerpt from article in July 14, 1949 issue of New England Journal of Medicine written by Massachussetts psychiatrist, Leo Alexander who had served as a consultant to State Department legal counsel at the Nuremburg Tribunals.

----------------------------------------------------

Preparatory Propaganda

Even before the Nazis took open charge in Germany, a propaganda barrage was directed against the traditional compassionate nineteenth-century attitudes toward the chronically ill, and for the adoption of a utilitarian, Hegelian point of view. Sterilization and euthanasia of persons with chronic mental illnesses was discussed at a meeting of Bavarian psychiatrists in 1931.[1] By 1936 extermination of the physically or socially unfit was so openly accepted that its practice was mentioned incidentally in an article published in an official German medical journal [2]

Lay opinion was not neglected in this campaign. Adults were propagandized by motion pictures, one of which, entitled "I Accuse," deals entirely with euthanasia. This film depicts the life history of a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis; in it her husband, a doctor, finally kills her to the accompaniment of soft piano music rendered by a sympathetic colleague in an adjoining room. Acceptance of this ideology was implanted even in the children. A widely used high-school mathematics text, "Mathematics in the Service of National Political Education,"[3] includes problems stated in distorted terms of the cost of caring for and rehabilitating the chronically sick and crippled, the criminal and the insane."

Euthanasia

The first direct order for euthanasia was issued by Hitler on September 1, 1939, and an organization was set up to execute the program. Dr. Karl Brandt headed the medical section, and Phillip Bouhler the administrative section. All state institutions were required to report on patients who had been ill five years or more and who were unable to work, by filling out questionnaires giving name, race, marital status, nationality, next of kin, whether regularly visited and by whom, who bore financial responsibility and so forth. The decision regarding which patients should be killed was made entirely on the basis of this brief information by expert consultants, most of whom were professors of psychiatry in the key universities. These consultants never saw the patients themselves. The thoroughness of their scrutiny can be appraised by the work of on expert, who between November 14 and December 1, 1940, evaluated 2109 questionnaires.

These questionnaires were collected by a "Realm's Work Committee of Institutions for Cure and Care."[4] A parallel organization devoted exclusively to the killing of children was known by the similarly euphemistic name of "Realm's Committee for Scientific Approach to Severe Illness Due to Heredity and Constitution." The "Charitable Transport Company for the Sick" transported patients to the killing centers, and the "Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care" was in charge of collecting the cost of the killings from the relatives, without, however, informing them what the charges were for; in the death certificates the cause of death was falsified.

----------------------------------------------------

Coming soon to a single payer government run health insurance program near you: Obamacare.

Don't leave home with it.

Successful estate planning is the end of your financial resources being coincidental with the end of your life.

Obamacare will ensure that this happens one way or the other.

You die and your financial resources are depleted

or

your financial resources are depleted and you die.

Either way the federal government will steal as much of your money as it can before, during and after your death.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at August 5, 2009 10:11 PM