I’m Not A Smart Man, But…….

Thank you, Forest Gump for that inspiration. And neither am I a journalist as qualified as E J Dionne of the Washington Post. But  nevertheless, I read a column of his today that at first left me confused and then a bit  concerned.Mr Dionne was writing in general about Republican attacks on the Democrats’ health care proposals(translation, Obamacare?) and specifically about a claim made by Virginia Foxx, a Republican from  Banner Elk, NC. She said several days ago that the Republican approach to health care would be  more pro-life than that put forward by the Dems. She said the Republican plan “will not put seniors in a  position of being put to death by their own government”. Now, Ms Foxx, who has  a PhD and was formerly a professor at my alma mater of Appalachian State, is presumably not stupid.  However, Mr Dionne calls her notion  ludicrous and that it  is taking off in the right-wing blogosphere. Who knew that the  blogosphere  was divided into wings and which one am I in and can I go back and forth? Guess that is  a topic  for another day.    

  Anyway, what  the columnist and congresswoman are apparently  referring to  is  Section 1233 of the House health bill. He says it has nada to do with euthanasia. Rather it merely provides Medicare$ so seasoned citizens can consult with their docs and obtain”an explanation by the practitioner  of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available.” Now, I read this line several times and read it aloud to  my wife. The more I read it, the more chilling it became  to me. Merriam-Webster online defines continuum as ” coherent whole characterized as a collection , sequence or progression of value or elements varying by minute degree” Ok. The continuum of end of life services-don’t you just love that term- then must progress  by  minute stages towards what? Who is the practioner  referred to? Family physician , Jack Kevorkian type- don’t know.

To me, this particular provision seems to open a door in which euthanasia might, just might, become a bit easier an maybe, just maybe, a bit more frequent. after all, do not forget that we  have scarce medical resources and that seasoned  citizens do take  a  disproportionate share thereof.  Just tossing the issue out for thought and consideration.  Especially since I am moving further along the  path of seasoned citizen.


August 5, 2009 - Posted by | Health, Politics | , , , , , , , ,


  1. You really need to read the rest of that proposed provision, though. It talks specficially about living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Because of the constantly-changing technology, it is crucial for patients to realize what’s out there, so that they can write out (and sign) orders that will guide a physician if the patient is unable to communicate at a crucial moment in the future. It used to be that all you needed in a living will was a simple statement of “I [do/ do not] wish for extraordinary measures to be used to prolong my life.” but now, there’s an almost infinite combination of considerations… “all medically-possible measures”… “all medically-appropriate measures”…. “no extraordinary measures, but ordinary nutrition measures are OK”… “no extraordinary, ordinary or nutrution measures if in an irreversible coma or in a persistent vegetative state”

    And the other thing that is often brought up by the anti-reform folks is that this clause REQUIRES everyone to have one of these consultations every five years. That’s simply not so. What the provision says is that Medicare has to PAY for it, once every five years, IF YOU WANT IT. If you just would prefer not to address these types of issues, you’re not forced to.

    What this whole section OUGHT to do is, hopefully, avoid a whole bunch of needless and heartbreaking Terri Schiavo scenarios in the future.

    Comment by larrys | August 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. I watched my mother die of cancer while her doctor kept putting her through chemotherapy. It didn’t stop the cancer but her body literally rotted off while she was alive. Her hair, finger and toenails, teeth, the lining of her digestive tract all sloughed off and caused enormous suffering. I wish she had had the benefit of counseling to help her know what all her options were.
    We are all going to die, that’s for sure. I want to be in control as much as possible. And I want the doctors or someone to lay all the cards on the table so I can make an informed decision.

    Comment by reddog | August 6, 2009 | Reply

  3. reddog: I want to be in control as much as possible. And I want the doctors or someone to lay all the cards on the table so I can make an informed decision.

    Are you saying then that you want the government forcing you or your love to be counsel? I think that should be between the family and their family doctor and not the Obama government. Obama said to a lady give your 100 year old mother a pill instead of medical treatment! Is that really what you want?

    larrys: And the other thing that is often brought up by the anti-reform folks is that this clause REQUIRES everyone to have one of these consultations every five years. That’s simply not so.

    After the remark by Obama on giving the 100 year old lady a pill and not medical treatment I would not trust him and his Obamacare a quarter of an inch, but then again I understand you because you have never went against anything that Obama has done. Most Americans don’t want Obamacare and the Democrats and Obama better think long and hard before pushing this government ran healthcare down our throats because they can and will be replaced in the next elections if they don’t listen to the people.

    Health providers would be required to explain to seniors the end-of-life services available, including “palliative care and hospice.”

    “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich. said in a statement…

    Comment by goodtimepolitics | August 8, 2009 | Reply

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