Bill Whittle: Sarah Palin Was Right About Death Panels

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To follow up on last week’s story about Howard Dean emerging from the unreality bubble just long enough to admit that the IPAB is about rationing, Bill Whittle took on the infamous Death Panels. Of course, Whittle knocked it out of the park.  See for yourself…

H/T: America’s Watchtower

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Paul Krugman Advocates for “non-existent” Death Panels Again

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If you recall, Paul Krugman, the uber-liberal economist that never met a stimulus he didn’t like, was caught supporting “death panels” on the This Week Program.  That was in 2011.  Well, he was caught again. Doug Ross (no relation) and Weasel Zippers have the details…

I’m guessing that Sparky McEnron didn’t realize he was being videotaped:

Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising… there is this question of how we’re going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give

We’re going to need more revenue… Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well… We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…

And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits.

So the snarky version… which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.

Note that he’s following the old liberal policy of “calling it something else.”  You see, it won’t be a death panel, because they’ll call it something else!

Oh, and by the way, if you’re an Obama voter, and you, or one of your loved ones gets their plug pulled by ObamaCare, just remember that  you voted for it.  Elections have consequences.

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Babies: There’s a Death Panel for That!

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Sorry for the flippant title, but it’s so horrifying that I had to make a absurdity of it.  Sadly, the truth is far more disturbing.  It seems that that the NHS, the British National Health System, has set up a protocol, or death panel, to deal with the “less than desirable” babies born in the UK.  GateWay Pundit has more…

The Daily Mail reported:

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers.

The use of end of life care methods on disabled newborn babies was revealed in the doctors’ bible, the British Medical Journal.

Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. The doctor described one case of a baby born with ‘a lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies’, whose parents agreed to put it on the pathway.

The doctor wrote: ‘They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped. They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby.

‘Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death was ten days.

‘Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe dehydration ensues.

Um, might I mention that Donald Berwick, the Obama appointed honcho at Medicare and Medicaid just gushes over the NHS?

Not everyone see’s it that way.  One person, in particular, is Obama nominee Donald Berwick.  Berwick has been nominated to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Like so many other nominees, Berwick seems to have the typical “progressive” elitism, as well as a health portion of reality denial.  Redstate has a great post on the situation, and I will be using the material that they dug up on Berwick.

“I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.”

Babies being starved and dehydrated?  Romance?  That’s what the regressives think.  And if you think that isn’t coming here, you’re in for a big surprise.

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Obama's Budget Speech Mentions the Death Panel?

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That most depised, and derided, part of the ObamaCare legislation, the Death Panels, are again making waves on the blogs.  Erick Erickson of Redstate and Bunkerville have both taken a look at Obama’s speech, and have came to the conclusion that he had made thinly veiled references to the “death panels.”

I happen to agree.

Here is  a brief excerpt from Redstate…

While everyone else was focused on Barack Obama bashing Paul Ryan, I noticed that he took full ownership of death panels yesterday. Naturally, Obama did not call them death panels. He called them “an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers.” But his description hits dead on with what his death panels will do.

I would recommend that you head over there and read Erickson’s post.

My take is that Obama is mentioning the IPAB, which is one of those parts of the legislation that we would see “after we pass it.”  Peter Orzag, then the Director of the Office of Management and Budget mentioned it back in April of last year…

 

 

Then, Paul Krugman mentioned the Death Panels while on the This Week program on ABC.

 

Pay particular attention at 4:35, where Krugman mentions “death panel people,” and that the host then mentions IPAB-all in reference to controlling costs.

So, these videos show that what we call the Death Panels is the IPAB, and Obama seemed to directly mention that in his speech.  While not calling it by name, it is clear that this is what he meant.

I also think it’s useful to take another look at the opinions of two administration officials; Donald Berwick, and Ezekiel Emanuel...

The interviewer pointed out: “Critics of CER have said that it will lead to the rationing of health care.” To which Berwick replied: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

OK, here’s the twist; we’ve heard some very similar things before.  Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, is a government adviser on health care.  Here are some quotes from Emanuel.

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Source:  First Things

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

So, they will use rationing per population, just like Berwick suggests.  Here’s some more.

“There is a widespread perception that the United States spends an excessive amount on high-technology health care for dying patients. Many commentators note that 27 to 30 percent of the Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. They also note that the expenditures increase exponentially as death approaches, so that the last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable.”

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One commentator observed: “Managed care and managed death [through physician-assisted suicide] are less expensive than fee-for-service care and extended survival. Less expensive is better.” Some of the amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court expressed the same logic: “Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

Source: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide? New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

So, if were are to assume that Obama would not hire or appoint someone that is against his agenda for heath care, it’s a safe bet that Berwick and Emanuel  do represent the position of the administration.  In other words, heath care rationing is coming, and the elderly are going to pay for that with their lives.

Remember this?

Note: Bunkerville has another related post, Kidney Patients being told to accept death and forgo dialysis

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Two Children, Two Countries: Who Lives and who Dies?

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Every now and again, there is a story the really makes the consequences of policy decisions crystal clear.  Roxanne de Luca, at the Camp of the Saints, has published such a post.

Take a look…

Your ultimate feel-good story of the day: a little boy with no cerebellum is inexplicably normal.   When little Chase Britton was born, he was legally blind; when he was a year old, doctors did a MRI and said that it looked like he was a vegetable – except that Chase laughs, cries, sits up, crawls, is starting to learn how to walk, and colours.

Read the whole thing and get ready to tear up – it’s a lovely story of a boy who shouldn’t be able to sleep, let alone sit up, but is learning to walk and play.

Now for the other kind of tears: a Canadian death panel mandated that a little one-year-old boy will have his breathing tube removed, because he has the brain scan of a vegetable.  The parents’  request for a trachetomy, so that he could die at home with them, was denied because it could lead to infection – which is even more absurd than not giving opium to terminal cancer patients for fear that they would become addicted.   Little Joseph Maraachli’s parents and entire family fought a long legal battle to keep him on the most rudimentary of life support systems, but were ultimately denied by the government:

The father and relatives of one-year-old Joseph Maraachli wept outside a London courthouse after an emotional Justice Helen Rady upheld the earlier decision of an independent provincial tribunal forcing the baby’s parents to comply with doctors’ orders.

With all of their legal avenues exhausted, the family will have to say goodbye to Joseph Monday morning — on Family Day — when his breathing tube will be removed.

“I do my best for my baby. My son is not a criminal . . . to just let him die,” dad Moe Maraachli said through tears.

“They are taking my baby away from me . . . Where is the humanity?”

He said he didn’t know how to break the news to his wife Sana Nader, who was too upset to sit through the day’s court proceedings, or explain to their seven-year-old son Ali what’s going to happen to his little brother.

Obviously,  Chase lives here in the US.  His family had a choice.  Even though, by all medical testing and opinion, he should be a vegetable.    On the other hand, Joseph is a Canadian.  His family has no choice, as the government makes the decisions.  I can’t say that there is any chance of recovery for Joseph, just as doctors here could not have predicted Chase’s improvement.  However, since health care decisions are made by the government, and not by families,  he will be killed.

In countries with socialized medical systems, there are formulas, or protocols, that bureaucrats used to determine what treatments a person of a certain age, with a certain condition, and so on, can receive.  If you fall outside the lines, you will die.  You are not a person.  You do not have a family that loves you.  You are a number, and if you fall outside what the system thinks is worth the cost, you will be given  a death sentence…and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Socialized medicine reduces life and death to a mathematical formula, humanity, love, a will to live, or any other consideration, does not enter into that equation.

You’ve read the words or Ezekiel Emanuel and Donald Berwick here. They have been appointed to positions in our government by Barak Obama.  Just imagine if the Democrats had achieved their end goal-a single payer heath care system.  Would children like Chase survive?

And this is the type of system the “progressives” want for us?

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Death Panels, Birthers, and the Set Up

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Two stories have come up lately that seem fishy to me.  One, I covered the other day, on the end of life care issue, which was originally referred to as the Death Panels.  The other is the birth certificate issue.  Apparently, Chris Matthews, and the Governor of Hawaii have, out of nowhere, begun talking about the birth certificates issue.

That issue has gone on for some time now.  I wrote about it about a year and a half ago…

When this issue really started “taking off,” it reminded me of some of the “dirty tricks” the Clinton Administration used to play.  They would “leak” false information, and hope that talk radio would jump on it.  Then, once the right got outraged about it, they’d reveal the truth (or at least a less controversial lie).  Obviously, this was an attempt to not only misdirect the right, but to also discredit talk show hosts, magazines, websites, and so on.  Thankfully, this taught the right to fact check a bit more, and it wasn’t terribly successful in discrediting them.

Knowing the dishonesty of the left, does the POTUS have his birth certificate, and is allowing the right to waste time, money, and credibility to reveal a “false lie?”  I don’t know.  But doing so would have some benefits for the administration:

  • It could discredit the right, from the web, all they way to the Tea Parties.  No matter how important or insignificant this is to the right, the MSM will tar and feather the entire movement with it.  Obviously, discrediting the right would make the resistance to the legislative agenda less effective.
  • Any effort to reveal the truth about the birth certificate is effort NOT being spent fighting the POTUS’s legislative agenda.

My opinion has not changed.  The administration allows this issue to hang out there so people spend considerable time and resources on investigating and “exposing it.”  Since these efforts take resources away from fighting the agenda, it is a nice distraction for the left.

A lot of folks have been talking about the “set ups” that the left will be using against the GOP in the coming year.  Many of these will be legislative.  We’ll get more of the class warfare, like…

  • The GOP wants to starve the children.
  • The GOP wants the elderly to freeze.
  • The GOP wants people to die.
  • The GOP wants to kill (insert Dem client group here).

You get the idea.  These claims will be backed up with union goons, and other members of the rent-a-mob.  However, I have  a hunch, and it’s only my conjecture, that the Death Panels and the Birth Certificate are part of the set up.  They suddenly get people talking about them again so as to make the entire Conservative movement look foolish.  When one considers that so many former Clinton staffers work for the Obama administration, it fits rather nicely.

My only recommendation is to wait to cover stories until they are bit more fleshed out, or write carefully, as we don’t want to get caught with out pants down.

Thanks to King Shamus for posting about the birther issue.

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Does Single Payer Kill?

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My recent heath care posts have brought on some reactions.  I’ve gotten quite a few spam comments (still in the queue) regarding them.  Most are attempts at lib talking points, but they are nothing if not persistent.  One was kind enough to leave a link in the shoutbox regarding people dying due to lack of insurance.  However, the link comes up as not existing.

Since this claim comes from Rep. Grayson, it might likely be dismissed as pure propaganda, as that is all the left has to offer.

Then, I received this spam comment on my last post about single payer.

This is a disgusting report but you make it out to be like the whole of the NHS is like this? And why?????? You really think that this is how UHC really is and the UK is?? You lot are so amazing that I’m shocked you’re let out for your day release… The problem with UHC is not the concept it’s people like the lot of you who would rather pay millions of dollars in health care just to feel self important. You want everything now, and could not wait that is how Americans are. God forbid if you were told that you had to wait for something like a MRI you would be out suing the government or your insurance company. I feel sorry for you, I really do. Why you don’t want to help your fellow man is beyond me.

A “Wilma Flintstone” sent this comment.  How very creative.

So, since there are some truths to tell, and some trolls to destroy, I thought we might take a look at what happens with single payer plans.

More than 40,000 deaths a year could be avoided if the NHS improved its safety record, campaigners say.

They claim the Health Service is ruled by a ‘ widespread culture of fear’ which puts patients at risk.

Managers are more concerned with hitting targets than improving systems known to be flawed, said the centreright think-tank Policy Exchange.

The NHS kills 40,000 a year???

Using new data from U.S. and European research, Policy Exchange says 78,400 NHS patients a year die as a result of ‘adverse events’  –  brought on by accidents or caused by medication or treatment.

More than half of these deaths  –  43,000  –  could be prevented if hospitals were inspected more rigorously and recommended safety changes were installed.

The figure for deaths is based on ten studies suggesting that 6.6 per cent of hospital admissions each year, around 700,000 patients, suffer adverse events  –  with 11 per cent of them ending in death.

This is bad, right?  I mean, they have been aware of the problem, and have taken actions to correct it.  Well, let’s take a look at what was being said back in 2005.

As many as 34,000 patients a year may be dying from NHS blunders, a bombshell report reveals today.

And he National Audit Office study suggests the toll could even be as high as 80,000.

Figures do not include the estimated 5,000 deaths from hospital infections such as MRSA. Health chiefs admitted nearly a million patients were accidentally harmed.

Half of these could have been prevented if health bosses had learnt from past mistakes, said the NAO.

Well, I see that they’ve really “improved.”

But, the single payer plan cares for patients, right?  Well, let’s take a look at how people die in the caring hands of the NHS.

NFR today calls on the government to launch a major Christmas TV ad campaign warning against the grave and widespread dangers of patient malnutrition and starvation on NHS wards, and insists that the money to pay for it be diverted from the annual drink driving TV ad campaign.

NFR research reveals that while the number of people killed in UK road accidents fell by 7% from 3,172 in 2006 to 2,946 in 2007, the number of patients starving on NHS wards more than doubled.

Not only did the number of NHS malnutrition incidents rise from 15, 473 in 2005 to 29,138 in 2007 but overall, according to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), almost 70,000 ‘patient incidents’ relating to malnutrition and starvation were reported.

Malnutrition?  Starvation?  That’s certainly a reason to get the public option, isn’t it?

Well, at least folks can see the dentist

The parlous state of NHS dentistry under Labour was exposed last night after it was revealed 1,000 people in a village ended up on a waiting list for a dentist.

Nearly one in ten of the 11,500-strong population of Tadley were forced to wait after a single NHS practice opened in the Hampshire village.

Their alternatives were paying privately, travelling miles to another NHS dentist – or going without treatment.

Still want single payer?

But they take care of disabled children, right?

Freedom of information figures obtained by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign found children were subject to a postcode lottery in terms of equipment.

Statistics from 54% of NHS trusts in England and Scotland revealed that disabled children in England are forced to wait five months on average for a wheelchair.

The worst performing primary care trust (PCT), East Lancashire, in the north-west of England, had an average wait of two years for an electric wheelchair.

The survey showed 58% of children in England had to wait at least three months for an electric wheelchair and 14% waited more than six months.

Hmm.  Not so good on that either.

At least they don’t ration drugs.

Hundreds of patients with a rare lung disease will be sentenced to death by plans to stop doctors prescribing a range of drugs on the NHS, it was claimed last night.

Campaigners have condemned proposals by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to withdraw the drugs because they are too expensive.

The condition, pulmonary hypertension, affects an estimated 4,000 people in the UK.

Only a quarter of these need the most expensive level of treatment.

Oh wait, yes they do.  I guess sacrificing 1000 people for the good of the rest is OK.  I’m sure that Ezekiel Emanuel would agree.

And single payer plans most certainly never let granny die.

A woman of 61 was refused a routine heart operation by a hard-up NHS trust for being too old.

Dorothy Simpson suffers from an irregular heartbeat and is at increased risk of a stroke. But health chiefs refused to allow the procedure which was recommended by her specialist.

The school secretary was stunned by the ruling.

“I can’t believe that at 61 I’m too old for this operation,” she said.

“A friend has had exactly the same thing done and it has changed his life.

“I feel as though I’ve been put out to grass and surely deserve better than this.”

Wow, I guess they do that too.  By the way, that sounds a lot like a “death panel,” doesn’t it?

So, my liberal trolls, shall I continue?  There are probably ten more stories that I can quote.  Tens of thousands of people every year are killed by socialized medicine in just one country.  And this is the level of care that you’d like to see here?

The lesson here is this; Big government solutions to any problems end up turning into giant steaming piles of fail.  It is universal.  The left says that lack of coverage kills over 40,000 a year.  Is it safe to assume that they would feel more comfortable if the government killed even more?

This really goes back to the fact that socialist “solutions” do not take the needs of the individual into account.  Socialism deals with groups.  So, if  thousands of individuals have to die, or suffer needlessly for the good of the group, so be it.  In any socialist system, you are a number-a statistic, and your life has no meaning, as long as the group, and more importantly, that the elites are able to maintain their power.

“Ms. Flintstone,” is this want you mean about helping our fellow man?  Excuse me, but I’d rather not kill more people.  And by the way, when my Dr. told me I needed an MRI, I got one in two days.  And no, I don’t pay millions for insurance.  How many people in the UK die because diseases were not diagnosed in time?

I don’t feel sorry for you.  You’ll happily go along in life, smug in the knowledge that all is “fair” in the world.  You just have to ignore the waste and death that is the proven result.  If you’re willing to trade lives for a failed ideology, that’s fine, just leave me out of it.

On a more serious note, most everyone agrees that there is a need for reform.  There are plans out there that do not involve the government controlling everything.  But then again, control is the goal for the left.

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Olbermann Loses His Mind: Liberal Propaganda Causes Mental Illness

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Kindly take a look at his incoherent diatribe. 

Warning: rant to follow

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I don’t talk about this much, and certainly never on the blog, but I was with my father when he died of an incurable illness.  I respect his memory too much to use him to score political points.  You see, I have no need to exploit the misery of others to make a political point.   That’s the benefit of having the truth on your side.

However, Mr. Olbermann, has no similar self inhibitions, nor does he have even the most tenuous grasp on reality.

Mr. Olbermann, you have again showed yourself to be the transparent, sycophant, useful idiot that you are.  You are an insult to “journalism,” and I hope you end up as a footnote in the history books.  By the way, you’ll be in the chapter on how the MSM destroyed itself by becoming the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.  Your picture will be next to Goebbels-the next paragraph will be about TASS and Pravda.

You speak of death panels, you repeat the talking points of we were paid to protest.  Here is your death panel.  His name is Ezekiel Emanuel.  He works as a health care adviser in the Obama Administration.  This is what he thinks about end of life care...

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

“Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (emphasis mine)

What chance would your father have in that system?  Come to think of it, both of us are over 40, what chances would we have?

You cynically speak of caring for everyone, yet that really isn’t part of the plan, is it?  For all of your feigned self righteousness, you miss that point entirely.  And since you are nothing more than a empty headed pile of recycled socialist propaganda, you apparently have started to believe your own talking points.

You can keep on repeating those same failed talking points.  You can invoke your father as much as you want as an emotional appeal.  None of that will change the truth.  We are here, unpaid and strong.  We will continue to protest, and we will show up to vote with our friends and family.  We will sweep “hope and change” out of power, and you can sit there are preach to the three people that still watch your pathetic excuse of a show.  Until MSNBC pulls the plug, that is.

h/t: JedEckert

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Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, Ezekiel Emanuel, and the “Death Panels”

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So, with the announcement/unveiling of PelosiCare, the Heath Care debate has heated up once again. Here’s my take on several of the debated issues.

Death Panels:  First, let me say that have a strong dislike for this term.  I believe it to be the hyperbolic, and not accurate to the true form and function of the heath care rationing that is to come.   That being said, there are some are some patterns in the actions of the government that suggest that there will be rationing decisions made that will end lives.  When Sara Palin suggested that people are going to be before “death panels” that would decide who live and dies, she was stretching the truth a bit.  Life and death decisions will be made, just not in that particular context.

End of life counseling, i.e., the “Death Panels,” are back.  The Democrats took it out of one of the earlier bills, after initially denying it existed.  They made a big deal out of removing it; yet apparently expect us to forget the whole thing.  In all honesty, I really don’t have an issue with end of life counseling.  Patients and doctors might see the need to discuss that issue.  However, it is completely inappropriate for the government to mandate it.  A medical professional knows when the “writing is on the wall,” and is fully capable, and trained, to bring up medical topics at the appropriate time.  Mandating it seems to be a “one size fits all” government approach.  Until, that is, you consider some of the other actions of the government.  When you look at the components of the change, and what the advisors and other are saying and doing, the real picture emerges.

Next, let’s take a look at this from CNS News.

Slashing Medicare payments to hospitals that readmit ailing senior citizens–a component of the health care reform bill under consideration in Congress–could have serious consequences for the hospitals, including raising costs on hospitals an estimated $19 billion over 10 years, according to the American Hospital Association.

A plan to reduce preventable hospital readmissions is included in all of the health care bills before Congress and would impose a fee on hospitals that readmit patients for certain conditions, such as pneumonia and heart failure.

The details on how the readmissions policy would work, however, are largely left up to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), a fact that concerns the nation’s hospitals. The penalties would only apply to hospitals where the readmission rates were well above the national average.

OK then, since when is admitting someone for pneumonia or heart failure preventable?  I mean, if someone is having a heart attack, is there a more efficient alternative than admitting them…other than letting them expire in the ER waiting area?

Then, we must consider that the legislation in this case, does not set any criteria or qualifications for this, they simply charges Heath and Human Services with creating them.  Who is going to write them?  Will that process be open to debate?  Will we even be made aware of the rules, or will a “czar,” or will a special interest group write them?  Will the rules change with each new administration?  Will the rules ever make sense?  These are questions that need to be asked, however, we have to remember that this will be a “one size fits all” approach, so there will be little logic involved.

Here’s some more…

The Senate Finance Committee left the definition of a “selected condition” up to the HHS, specifying only that the government use eight conditions with a high rate or cost of readmission. The government can expand the list of selected conditions after three years, in 2016.

As the summary states, “Three years after implementation of the readmissions policy, the [HHS] Secretary would have the authority to expand the policy to other conditions. Additional conditions would be selected based on: (1) high spending on readmissions or high rates of readmissions; and (2) other criteria as determined by the Secretary.”

The American Hospital Association (AHA), in comments submitted to Baucus May 15, said that the Finance Committee’s plan could lead to “serious consequences” if the government does not get the details right.

“Hospital leaders and clinicians who care for patients recognize that some readmissions can be prevented,” the AHA said.

“But there are a number of factors beyond the hospital’s control that affect whether a patient is readmitted, including the natural course of the disease, the limited availability of post-acute and ambulatory health care services, high levels of poverty among some hospitals’ patients, and a lack of community-based social services,” it added.

“If these factors are not accounted for, they will lead to payment penalties, inequities and other serious consequences–intended and unintended–for hospitals, particularly safety-net hospitals,” said the AHA.



Now, they appear to be intent on punishing the hospitals for things that might be out of their control.  For example, what If the patient doesn’t go to follow-up appointments?  That’s a common occurrence.  What if the aftercare practitioner isn’t taking more patients dues to being ripped off by the government plan, or has retired as they can no longer make enough money to justify their effort?  What if the patient simply gets sick again?  That’s the problem with a “one size fits all” plan, it cannot see or take into consideration the individual needs of each patient, or facility.  There are facilities that are in areas with large senior populations.  That population, statistically, will be sicker, as well as have more repeat episodes.  Will hospitals in these areas simply have to cut back services as a whole?  Or will they discourage certain patients from returning?

One more thing…  What happens when the patient’s government insurance stops paying for an episode of care and wants the patient discharged?  Then, the patient gets sick again, and the facility is penalized for doing what the government told them to do?  Sounds like the banks being ordered to make bad loans, and then being blamed when the bad loans clobber the banking system, doesn’t it?  Might this cause facilities to find ways not to admit or treat certain patients?  Is this part of a way to penalize facilities for treating senior citizens?

Next up, this from the Wall Street Journal

• Expanding Medicaid, gutting private Medicare. All this is particularly reckless given the unfunded liabilities of Medicare—now north of $37 trillion over 75 years. Mrs. Pelosi wants to steal $426 billion from future Medicare spending to “pay for” universal coverage. While Medicare’s price controls on doctors and hospitals are certain to be tightened, the only cut that is a sure thing in practice is gutting Medicare Advantage to the tune of $170 billion. Democrats loathe this program because it gives one of out five seniors private insurance options.

So, their denial that they are going to gut Medicare was yet another lie?  Of course, they seem to hate anything that is privately controlled.

In discussing the “death panels,” we have to take yet another look at Ezekiel Emanuel.  Besides being the brother of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm, Dr. Emanuel is a prominent if medical ethicist that has, shall we say, some rather interesting ideas about medical treatment.  Here are some quotes from Dr. Emanuel:

This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.

So, the government will have the authority to deny treatment for those individuals that they deem unfit for living.  What criteria would be use?  Do you get to appeal?  Do you have any choice?  Under a government controlled plan, I would venture to guess no.

Source:  First Things

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Note that the decision has been made based on the amount on money the government has spent “developing” a human.  He is essentially reducing the value of human life to the amount of resources that society has expended upon the said human.  Now, the left can decry the 2% profit margin of the insurance companies; yet engage in far more sinister statistical calculations for who gets care and who gets to die?

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

This is phenomenal wordsmithing.  He denies in the first part of the sentence, and endorses in the second.  Sir, just saying that the grass isn’t green does not make it orange!

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

So, I am to be “attenuated?”  Can we say that this is discrimination based on age?  Are all AARP members reading this?  How many times have the Democrats claimed that the Republicans are going to freeze, starve, or kill of the old people? –  Just about every election cycle.  However, look at who is openly proposing to do it!!!

“Every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health-care reform agenda. If the automakers want a bailout, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration’s health-reform effort.”

As I have said many, many, times, government assistance comes with strings attached.

Source: NCPA

“Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others”

So, is this simply redistribution of wealth, or is it something more?  I believe that this is really about creating a system of scarcity, and using it as means to manipulate population.  It also de-emphasizes ethical considerations, and switches that emphasis to an economic one, especially ironic from a man who is a medical ethicist!

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008

“There is a widespread perception that the United States spends an excessive amount on high-technology health care for dying patients. Many commentators note that 27 to 30 percent of the Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. They also note that the expenditures increase exponentially as death approaches, so that the last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable.”

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One commentator observed: “Managed care and managed death [through physician-assisted suicide] are less expensive than fee-for-service care and extended survival. Less expensive is better.” Some of the amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court expressed the same logic: “Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

America, are you reading this?  These people are making economics out of death!  Beyond that, they are projecting savings that can be achieved if you die early.  Combine that with their other actions, and it appears that they are trying to save a buck!  Isn’t that what the left hates about the “evil” insurance companies?  There is a difference though…the state wants to industrialize and manage it at the federal level!

“Although the cost savings to the United States and most managed-care plans are likely to be small, it is important to recognize that the savings to specific terminally ill patients and their families could be substantial. For many patients and their families, especially but not exclusively those without health insurance, the costs of terminal care may result in large out-of-pocket expenses. Nevertheless, as compared with the average American, the terminally ill are less likely to be uninsured, since more than two thirds of decedents are Medicare beneficiaries over 65 years of age. The poorest dying patients are likely to be Medicaid beneficiaries. Extrapolating from the Medicare data, one can calculate that a typical uninsured patient, by dying one month earlier by means of physician-assisted suicide, might save his or her family $10,000 in health care costs, having already spent as much as $20,000 in that year.”

Excuse me for being a bit cynical here, but after reading all of this, can we say that they are trying to sell families on killing off their own family members?  Are they going to sell this to the families as a cost savings for giving granny the “pain pill?”

Source: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide? New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

I think that anyone who reads this should be frightened.  This has happened before, particularly in Nazi Germany, with their T4 program.  While the T4 program focused on the mentally ill and mentally retarded, it did strike on similar themes, particularly cost savings.

One might ask, why question what a medical ethicist that works for the NIH thinks in regard to the heath care debate?  That is a good question.  In that capacity, those questions should be asked.  I view ethicists as philosophers; they are supposed to ask the difficult or uncomfortable questions. That’s what they are supposed to do.  However, Dr. Emanuel isn’t with the NIH right now.  Why do I say this?  Well, here is the NIH site for Dr. Emanuel:

Ezekiel J. Emanuel is Head of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health and a breast oncologist. He is on extended detail as a special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

So, he is a White House adviser…for health policy???  This leads to the question; why have this guy as a special adviser if the administration was not at least evaluating his ideas? And, what does that say about the administration’s stance towards rationing?

It is useful to note that, just like the “czars,” Dr, Emanuel is claiming that his statements are being taken out of context.  That seems to be the claim du jour from the left.  Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, The POTUS, Barney Frank, and the others have all made this claim.  However, I’ll leave the judgment to you.  After all, the doctor has written multiple articles on the topic, and they all end up in the same place.

So, when the Democrats state that there is nothing called a “death panel” in the legislation, they are being truthful, at least superficially.  The real “devil,” as Ross Perot used to say, “is in the details.”  There are cuts in care for the elderly, the mandated “end of life” counseling, and a White House advisor that has repeatedly published his ideas about cutting off care for the elderly and for those “not worthy of life.”  Add this all together (and a few more details- I didn’t want to write a book here), and the pattern emerges.  They do speak to limiting care, and to whom it is to be limited.  They are translating that into their legislation, but not stating it openly.  They do it by creating circumstances in which it will be done, while at the same time denying any complcity.  I beleive that they hope that once the legislation is passed, and takes effect, there will be nothing to do to stop it.  In the end, we arrive at the same place that Sara Palin fears-just in a different form.  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barak Obama, and Ezekiel Emanuel are taking us there.

H/T: Jeff Head; Notes from Dr. RW

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