Skip to comments.Ken Connor: Seniors Left Behind?
Posted on 08/09/2009 9:40:50 AM PDT by wagglebee
One of the most controversial issues of the current health care reform debate is the concept of health care rationingallocating medical care according to predetermined criteria that dictate how much and what kind of care a given patient will receive under a government-run system. Setting aside the comparative merits of various reform proposals on the table in Congress, Americansparticularly the elderlyshould be wary of any plan that would limit access to health care based on the arbitrary and discriminatory criteria of age.
As many have pointed out in the course of the ongoing national discussion on health care, America's population is aging rapidly, placing a growing strain on entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. Health care costs continue to rise, and America's younger population cannot long foot the bill for elderly retirees and their significant health care requirements. This conundrum (caused not by taxpayers but by decades of gross government mismanagement of taxpayer dollars) seems to have bred an underlying antipathy towards seniors, the undisputed "resource hogs" of public health care. This feeling of resentment is exacerbated by an increasingly utilitarian view of human life that sees no value in prolonging one's twilight years, especially on the public dime.
This situation makes proposals for "comparative effectiveness" research seem like a pretty good idea. Who, after all, wants to waste their taxpayer dollars on treatment for old folks who are going to die soon anyway? Wouldnt it be better to allocate the bulk of our health care resources towards more productive members of society while reducing the spectrum of costly options available to seniors and the terminally ill among us?
But do Americans really want government bureaucrats dictating access to care based on their perception of ones worth to society? This question goes to the heart of the problem with rationing: a stranger far from the scene decides who gets care and who doesn't. The person making these decisions knows neither the patient nor the healthcare provider, yet he or she is charged with the responsibility of allocating scarce resources among a demanding population rather than providing the best possible care.
Instead of allowing the market to dictate cost and availability, the buck will stop with the government. Instead of allowing doctors to work dynamically with their patients to tailor a health care approach best suited to the individual in question, the government will use its regulatory power to force physicians into applying narrow "quality of life" criteria when evaluating treatment options for society's elderly citizens. This utilitarian approach to life and death is already affecting seniors in North America, in places like Canada (no surprise there), Texas, and Wisconsin.
A health care system that bases its fiscal solvency on rationing undermines the fundamental American values of self-determination and choice. This nation has always been known as a land of opportunity and innovation. For hundreds of years, people have traveled from all over the globe at risk to life and limb just for a chance to build their own dreams here in America. This includes the opportunity to live a full and free life, even into one's golden years of retirement and senior citizenship. But what criteria will America's elderly citizens have to meet in order to retain access to the best health care if our leaders institute a Brave New World of "comparative effectiveness" in health care? Age? Productivity? Societal "usefulness?" Level of sentience?
The elderly often don't score well along these lines, and once American society becomes comfortable with the idea that certain members may be deemed less worthy than others in the eyes of the government, we have rendered the heart and soul of our Constitution meaningless. Once we decide that the elderly are expendable, not worth their share of society's resources and attention, we are setting a dangerous precedent that opens the door for government bureaucrats to assign other vulnerable members of the human community to the same second-class status.
The idea that senior citizens are less deserving of the best medical care our system has to offer smacks of gross ignorance and ingratitude. Among the ranks of America's elderly are countless American heroesveterans of numerous wars, entrepreneurs, farmers, businessmen, teachers, scientists... men and women who have worked hard and paid taxes their whole lives. Our society wouldn't be what it is today without their contributions, and they deserve just and equitable treatment as they live out their final years.
As the August recess commences and our leaders head home for some straight talk with their constituents at Rotary Clubs, community centers, and town halls, hopefully they will recognize that America's seniors are vital members of our nation's communities and integral to our democratic way of life. If Uncle Sam is determined to assume the mantle of responsibility for health care in America, the elderly should not automatically be relegated to the back of the bus.
The moment this happens, the American Republic will have FAILED.
Finally, Democrats embrace the death penalty
Obamacare + Cap-n-trade = Soylent Green
“Cash for cripples”
Can anyone point out the sections of this “Health Care” program that allows for rationing? I want to cite it in my letter to the criminals holding public office.
Of course Im no expert (like Obama) but it seems like common sense to me. When a limited supply meets an unlimited demand, somethings gonna give. Dont forget the 30 million illegal aliens that will be added to the system (hundreds of millions before its all over). You do the math.
Check this thread by Jeff Head, he has everything on the death counseling and he can probably tell you exactly where to look for the rationing.
Using the twisted ‘logic’ of NObama, this means that a person who is 63 y/o and owns a company which hires 200 people will NOT be given health care...
BUT—the 24 y/o person who has been on welfare and food stamps all their life, with 6 kids none of whom know who their father is WILL get healthcare—her and her 6 bastards.
This is exactly the kind of upside-down logic that has people yelling at Congress members at ‘town hall’ meetings and other gatherings.
All of this is fertile ground for Sarah Palin, IMO.
If there is a “silver lining” to any of this, it is that Zero and his thugs seem so out of touch with the American public that they are totally unaware that everything is collapsing all around them.
A fat 65 year old engineer who needs more than average health care but has lead a productive life and is the prime “knowledge holder” for a plant or process has economic value most likely well above his “cost” to society. In fact, it may be that his expert knowledge that benefits us all has come at a cost to his health. Should we use this against him in the end? In the world of the “young/healthy” crowd, this person is not worth the price of a new knee, hip, or ongoing drug treatment.
A 25 year old skinny surfer dude who does not plan to get a job and gets chronic exposure to to UV rays and a high risk for melanoma later in life is thought to be “worth” something to society and worthy of any medical treatment.
The example is extreme to point out that one cannot and should not make worth judgments about people. We all run risks of health problems as we grow older. We all make some decisions and have some risk factors that bring on health costs later in life. Some bureaucrat in an ivory tower should not be making decisions based on stats and age. There are so many different factors involved in a persons worth to society.
You may wish to recall that the racist jerk-off artist Jocelyn Elders, our erstwhile surgeon general, once opined for the record that a young drug addict was worth more than a fifty-odd year old man with a heart condition.
Yes, she did.
I hope Sarah Palin continues to speak out. But I do want to point out to you and others here who fervently wish for her to run for president that the layers and layers of Federal bureaucrats who would remain in place, even if there were a 99% Republican Congress, will mount the same kind of opposition against her and her family members that you have already seen, only worse.
This country needs a united Republican "machine" to mount an opposition, so that whomever runs will have some layers of protection. Those who want to save the Republic have to stop shooting into the circle and get organized behind a candidate and a few more or less universally appealing conservative points, then hammer them repeatedly.
Many who love Sarah do not want to see her destroyed. She is too good for the job.
If people over 65 are expendable, then there shouldn’t be any serving in Congress or on the USSC. Especially sick ones.