Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Have Seen the Future--and it's Oregon

Sarah Palin coined the phrase "death panels" that is sticking like death to the ObamaCare health care debate. We note that it is Sarah Palin, mindless gun toting hillbilly, ONE, Barack Obama, brilliant constitutional lawyer and auto and health care industry expert, ZIP. Due to the whistle blowing by the ex-governor, the Senate was shamed into removing the provision they said did not exist. They lost this round to Palin because there were just too many eyes on the thing for their denials to hold up--even the Washington Post's Charles Lane admits the slippery-slopiness of the provision requiring end of life counseling. Eugene Robinson, one of the president's staunchest supporters, agrees that the import of the provision is to shorten lives, and thus curtail the medical spending that supports the waning years of people's lives.

Nat Hentoff, an Old Left colleague of Christopher Hitchens at the Nation magazine two decades ago, weighs in with his characteristic bluntness in his piece "I'm Finally Scared of a White House Administration" . As a constitutional scholar and ardent critic of government power (mostly Republican government power), he validates and then some Palin's concerns over where this is going.

Despite media reports, Palin's Facebook post responding to Obama is a model of successful refutation--clear, concise, and heavily footnoted. I don't know if she wrote it--she may still have staff working for her--but no fair minded person would associate such successful argumentation with the cartoon character the media has invented to represent her.

But it is not just the logical points that immediately follow from the language in the bill that show the likelihood of the death panel charges. The actual implementation of the laws Congress writes falls to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats whose only means of administering such massive programs is to shuffle individual cases into the nearest category and get on to the next case. Or go to lunch, Whatever. It is they who decide what the categories are, and what the criteria for judging which cases fit which category. And they will never see a single patient whose life outcome they are deciding. There is also the inconvenient fact that in several government-run health care systems the advice given to old patients turns out to be euthanasia (Sweden and Holland both give a lot of weight to government doctors to make the decision to pull the plug, even against the patient or the family's wishes, often outside official guidelines).

And now this story from Oregon's experiment in socialist living surfaces just at the wrong time for the deceiving sponsors of government control of everything. This is exhibit A in what government run health care portends for a large swath of its victims, in its all-caring, all knowing benevolence. I meant to say bureaucratic callousness.

This lady has a form of cancer treatable with a drug deemed too expensive for her case. The letter she received from the Oregon state authority suggested her best option under their wise and noble program is "aid in dying". So thoughtful of them. Listen to the director of the state commission--Oregon's death panel-- skate around the obvious cost basis analysis for the twice-appealed decision.


1 comment:

R.B. Glennie said...

I tell my family and friends:

In our system (ie. Canadian state medicare), rationing of medical services is performed by availability (ie. medical services are scarce, bec. they are state-controlled).

In THEIR system (ie. the U.S. system) rationing is performed by price.

But, it seems, with President Urkel, the rationing of health-care will be taken to a whole new level.

Keep on fightin', Harold and David.