Friday, August 14, 2009

The Palinistas Win

This is very discouraging. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the provision for government subsidized counseling for end-of-life issues is being scrapped from any eventual reform bill by the Senate Finance Committee. It seems that the bad faith protrayals of this as a "death panel" and "granny euthanasia" by the likes of Sarah Palin and Charles Grassley have thwarted a very important and necessary facet of any meaningful health care reform package.

I hope they're all happy. Because God knows, we have to discourage people from contemplating their own mortality as much as we can. Because it's better to have demented 90 year olds artificially maintained by machines, soaking up as much of our limited health care resources as possible. Right? I mean who needs a living will or a formalized process by which a human being can dictate the terms of his/her own demise while still of clear mind and soul? Always better to ignore the cold hard facts of life and foist the responsibility off on vulnerable family members who are too emotionally wracked to be able to make a decision.

It just makes me sick. To capitulate to lies and nonsense and ignorance. Here's Charles Grassley's explanation:
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the panel dropped the idea because it could be "misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly."

Oh that seems rational. Along those same lines, maybe we ought to outlaw public restaurants because restaurant attendance could be "misinterpreted" as an invitation to start food fights with the table across from you. Or maybe we shouldn't be allowed to drive our cars at night. Because night driving could be "interpreted" as a means to ram your car into your neighbors mailbox without him knowing.

My head spins. What is going on in this country right now? What is this madness, this anti-intellectual fervor that afflicts us?


Anonymous said...

I've posted on this topic before. I'd love to have Sarah shadow well managed dying patients and not so well managed dying patients... let her see what happens when poor choices are made by those who lack the "gift of knowing". Let her experience a patient muster what little strength they have left just to turn to you and lock eyes pleading as they struggle, drowning. Kind of like when they used to let some reckless driving teens observe in the ER, or autopsy of MVA. How long do you think it would take for her to start screaming, "Somebody help this person, can't you see they are suffering?"


Liz said...

This is the depressing way in which political discourse in this country occurs. Hyperbole on BOTH sides, propaganda on BOTH sides, attempts to malign and mislead on BOTH sides.

Social Security is bankrupt.
Medicare is bankrupt.
US Postal Service is bankrupt.
US Treasury (thanks, Stimulus!) is bankrupt.

And now they want to run health care? End result.....bankrupt.

THAT's the problem....Americans aren't totally stupid.

HMS said...

The genesis of "Death Panels"

rlbates said...

I agree it is not good policy making to give in to false information and rumors.

Celeste said...

I think you nailed it with "anti-intellectual fervor". It's no longer a virtue to be educated. We're talking about people who can't fathom the difference between truth, belief, and opinion. There is a certain pride in ignorance and a willingness to scream, I know what I know, without any compunction to back it up in a concrete manner. Fear, mistrust, and self-pity rule the day.

Some days I feel like there should be a divorce to create two Americas, but I have no idea how to work out custody for the land itself.

Doug said...

Anti-intellectualism has a proud history in these United States. It ebbs and flows. That doesn't make it any more palatable. But it's nothing new.

Some decent stuff here.

Risa Denenberg said...

There's another really stupid idea floating around out there-- that people should make out Living Wills with lawyers, not with their doctors.

Anonymous said...

Anti-intellectualism is alive and well in the liberal community, as well.

Why not? It does work.

Anonymous said...

You're right Buckeye, and it's more accurately "End of Life" counseling so it'd include those 28 yr olds AIDS patients with fewer T-Cells than Legitimate Cleveland Indian Starting Pitchers...Y'know how many acres of Rain Forest it takes to keep someone supplied with PI's NRTI's, and NNRTI's??? South America'll look like the South Bronx in a few years...
and whats with that Creepy Steven Hawkins?? Lou Gehrig's Disease (I know its "ALS" but I still call it Lou Gehrig's Disease) is God, or Buddah, or Moe-hammad's way of tellin you you're past your checkout time... That Oxygen doesn't grow on trees you know...
"Anti Intellectual???" who's the guy who thinks Pediatricians take out Tonsils? BHO makes Moe Howard look like friggin umm I don't know, someone who's really smart like Bobby Cox. And I know you don't even know who that "1995 World Series"...


Nurse K said...

The Democrats are acting like people won't/don't discuss end-of-life issues without government approval which is equally as silly. I see doctors discussing this stuff every day with or without a Congressional bill. It should be part of any plan of care for someone who is very elderly or terminally/seriously ill. Doctors should be a little more edgy that people think the government needs to micromanage who can discuss what with whom when. Check-box and fill-in-the-blank type living wills are readily available online or via your clinic or hospital social worker btw.

Anonymous said...

"...acting like people won't/don't discuss end-of-life issues without government approval"


"...people think the government needs to micromanage who can discuss what with whom when"


Anonymous said...

Re: Liz

Let's take a look at private sector:

airlines - became flying 7/11
banking - 75 banks went out
auto - not a chance w/o bailout
energy - inefficient
manufacture - noncompetitive

A profit-driven model is unsustainable.

nemsova said...

wow, buckeye, what responses to your lucid comment! of course, i also see the last gasps of a giant insurance/big pharma lobby that feels itself threatened. they have no scruples and will do anything to preserve the status quo; from which only they gain. i like the idea anon had of shadowing dying pts in er and icu; that would change alot of minds and hearts.

Anonymous said...

Be mindful of what you support; be equally mindful of what you oppose, lest our children suffer from the foolishness of our mistakes.

Bailout or no bailout; reform or no reform:

What (facts)/ how (mean)/ what are our options on the table/horizon?

What are the consequences if we fail to act while we still can? Is this the time to play party politics? To polarize the crowd? To preserve our immediate interest?

When in doubt, let's ask our children what they want

because the ramifications of our decisions will reach far beyond our current generation (whom already have reasonable jobs and coverages).

The "death panel" is just the beginning of a whole range of public-driven support/opposition to come. In America, any tidbit of ear-catching hearsay (and heresy) can potentially become the source of next wildfire.

Anonymous said...

from T. the anesthesiologist:

End-of-Life Preparation Is a Responsibility, NOT a "Death Panel"


Good video from Ronald Reagan on Socialized Medicine

Liz said...


Actually, all institutions/beaurocracies are unsustainable due to human nature. The propensity to grow bigger and bigger and do more and all takes money. Eventually greed or stupidity takes over and the company/organization will fail (unless it's lucky enough to get a bailout).

Our government is growing bigger and bigger and will take our money to sustain it. Where will we get that money without some sort of alive and well profit motive?
I know I'm not going to break my back working to pay 50% out in taxes. (And of course, that's where we're headed). Are you going to strive to excel and succeed and produce more, knowing that much of it will be taken and given away? We're not all saints, you know.

When businesses grow too bloated and can no longer sustain themselves, they SHOULD go out of business....but our tax money has been given to these irresponsible yahoos to prop them up.

I'm OK with things changing, it's the cycle of life/evolution/whatever. But I am permitted to have an opinion about how they might change. Socialism is oppressive and suppresses innovation and progress. As flawed as it is, capitalism at least provides incentives for people to go out and produce.

We can't all be on welfare.

Anonymous said...

The way ethical theorist and politician meet - in sharp contrast to clinical reality.

Who are these "experts" that distort other's words in order to gain an audience? Is reform supposed to be about health care or it's all about political maneuvering? Meanwhile, more compromises are on the way.