Obamacare: Kennedy lives; Grandma dies – UPDATED

Is Is Euthanasia Included in National ‘Health Care’ Reform?

Not explicity, but you may well infer it.

Found at Red State via Glenn Reynolds.

Let’s back up for a minute. I noted some time ago Jay Rockefeller went on record to say that at some point the government has to decide whether or not you are allowed to receive any more medical benefits if the cost outweighs the potential benefits.

This is, of course, about Obama’s health care bill, which he is strenuously, if rather shrilly (“the time for talk is through!”) trying to shove down America’s throat before his poll numbers (and the trust and confidence of the nation) deteriorate much more. It’s about the health care bill, and the rationing that will occur as the government decides whose life (or “quality” of life) is worth spending tax dollars on, and which child, adult or senior’s life is simply “not worth the price.”

Rationing health care is such a sure bet that the NY Times has already begun telling you why it’s the correct thing; soon we will see profiles of heroic men and women who have chosen death. Once life has become difficult, and suffering enters in, the best sorts of citizens will not selfishly hang on and waste taxpayer money on hospice.

And never mind that fruity idea some put out, that those difficult days may bring about other sorts of healing to the dying and those they leave behind.

Living is not easy. Nor is dying. And the great paradox of love is that for all the joy it brings, it also brings pain. Love and pain cannot exist exclusive of each other, and joy fits itself, somehow, between the two.

It is said that God does not give us more than we can bear. That is not merely a pretty idea. It is, in fact, an answer to the paradox of love and a clue to how genuine indeed is the holiness of life and the limitlessness of human potential.

We have been trained in the secular world to disregard life as something holy and to understand that our human potential is inextricably tied to our personal freedoms and our domination over those uncontrollable matters of life: death, pain, and joy. This is a great deception. The truth is, just as human expansion upon the earth depended upon someone being willing to explore those uncharted waters marked, “Here be monsters,” our human potential can only grow when it is open to exploring the Unknowable. The vehicle for that exploration is faith. If the monsters of life are pain and suffering, fear and doubt, moving through them is what leads to discovery, growth, and — yes — holiness. God does not give us more than we can endure, but we cannot ascertain on our own precisely how much strength we have.

It is impossible to explore the depths of our potential, or its limits, if we steadfastly refuse to take the journey. But increasingly, that refusal is being regarded as wisdom.

That, of course, is sentimental church-talk dispensed by uptight, unsophisticated God-freaks who want to run your life, even unto death.

The government, on the other hand, simply wants you to be efficient. Hence, daring to stay alive – loving and being loved while walking through the fire – is a selfish thing, a foolish expenditure of time, funding and manpower when you are “dying anyway”; determining that you will kill yourself when your engine no longer performs at optimum capacity, well, that’s selfless, heroic and brave.

This mindset is evil, by the way. If you’re not sure, if you’re wondering about it, let’s be clear: assigning monetary value to life based on budgets and arbitrary assessments that disregard humanity’s (and life’s) “intangible assets” such as, you know…loving, being loved and oh yes, the basic human desire to continue living, is evil.

Deciding that some people have a greater effect on society than others, and therefore are more worthy of treatment than anothers? That’s evil, too.

Read the whole thing, but if your parents are getting older, if you’re 55 or so yourself, or if you love your Granny and want her to be around for a long time, even if her health is just so-so, well read this:

…be very troubled by Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. The section, titled “Advanced Care Planning Consultation” requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity.

On the surface, it sounds so very sensible, doesn’t it – just “getting affairs in order, making living wills, thinking about things in advance.” Because life (and death) should never simply be allowed to happen; for the bureaucrats everything must be orderly, from your planned (and allowable) conception to your mandated death.

Ted Kennedy, who favors rewarding hospitals for testing less, is a senior citizen facing a rather frightening illness with a not-very-nice prognosis. Last year the word was he had, at best, two years to live, and that is a very sobering reality. Kennedy said he’d fight the illness, undergo treatment, and so forth. Everyone wished him the best and believed he should certainly have access to any such treatments that might help prolong his life.

The more one reads about the Obamacare Happy Death Club, the more one realizes that if Ted Kennedy were not the last coherent member of a rich and powerful political dynasty – if he were instead some 70 year-old guy named Ted, who worked with his hands, maybe drank too much and carried a bit of weight – his “last two years” would be very, very different.

For starters…they would only last a few weeks.

UPDATE I: Over at Secondhand Smoke, Wesley J. Smith tries to determine what the bill really says:

Here’s the thing: I’m a lawyer and I couldn’t figure out what this section of the bill would actually require because it refers to existing laws, and to look up and cross reference those against the bill would require hours to figure out. That in itself should send up warning flares. From what I have seen, this bill is simply incomprehensible.

It is supposed to be incomprehensible. The “stimulus” bill is also incomprehensible, and so is the Cap-and-Trade bill. Incomprehensibility is what you get when you are – as Shrinkwrapped declares -constructing reality and the appearance of competence. Gobbledygook is the language you use when your strategy is absolute misdirection, and your method is chaos and cajolery.

Ethics and life issues aside, let us consider this question: can an administration that is either unable to produce public reviews and reports or just plain unwilling to do so for political purposes, be trusted with mandating and minding the health-care issues of 300 million people, plus immigrants and visitors? Given the fact that the president himself does not seem to know what is in his health care bill, and the realization that our government’s “bailouts” to banks and auto makers may end up costing in the neighborhood of 23 Trillion dollars, and the admission by bureaucrats at the FDA that they can’t even figure out their own budget, I suggest the answer is no.

I agree with Obama’s slip-of-the-truth: Obamacare will bring inefficiencies to the system, because outside of the military, government doesn’t run many things well, at all.

I completely concur with Smith:

It is urgent that our representatives slow down, figure out what these bills really contain, and let the people weigh in before the legislation is finally decided upon. That the President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and others in political leadership want to deny us that opportunity tells me this bill is toxic–and on that basis alone, it should be rejected unless sufficient time is allowed to permit the democratic process to operate in a proper fashion.

This regime is a very controlling machine, but life itself is a very uncontrollable proposition, and thank God for that. Life throws us curveballs, when all we want is a slider. But if we don’t duck and dodge, if we decide to hang in and take our swings at the messy challenges life throws at us, we will generally look back and say, “it wasn’t what I’d planned or what I’d hoped for, but I’m glad that pitch came my way.”

Whether your swing was a strike out or a home run, at least you were in the game til the end, you were not scratched from the board with the neat, measured flick of a manager’s wrist.

When the Bush Administration said, in essence, “trust us,” the press and the left almost stroked out. Now, “trust us” is the new “yes we can.”

UPDATE II: Obama Antoinette; Let them eat painkillers

UPDATE III: A further bureaucratic explanatory note thanks to reader Brian:

They’re going to regulate your toilet paper, next
A Totally Unscientific Poll
Scorching the earth
Obama not clear on concept of checks and balances

Ed Morrissey: A brief lesson on markets and rationing
Experimenting with our country and our lives
The Rise in At-Home Burials
Top Lawmakers getting big bucks from healthcare lobby as it “reforms”
The Three Big Lies of Obamacare
What Socialized Medicine Looks Like in England
A most savage compassion (H/T Larwyn)
Obama’s Science Czar, When Life is Devalued
Racial Preferences in the Health Care Bill

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Ken

    Anchoress, I would guess so. Down’s Syndrome kids get lots of publicity. But I really don’t know.

    [Do you really think so, though, Ken? Do you think Obamacare will not spend $16,000 on a man with cancer because he's "older" so that they can use that money to, say, support a new mother who has decided to go forth with the birth of her doomed-to-die child, because she wants to see him, hold him, and love him for a few hours, before he dies? Or do you think the old cancer patient will die, and the mother will be told that the gov't will not pay for her to deliver a doomed child (which is pretty much what we all know will happen, if we're being honest) and that $16,000 will be wasted somewhere in usual gov't inefficiency. And life will be cheapened that much more -admin]

  • Ken

    Anchoress, by Obamacare you seem to mean a single payer. Obama says he opposes single payer.


  • http://www.reflectionsbykris.squarespace.com Kris, in New England

    But I really do feel that the language being used is well over the top & I struggle to engage with it.

    What is over the top dry valleys? I think the discourse here is some of the most reasoned and rational of all the sites I read.

    Americans want our health care system fixed – but not the way Obama is railroading it thru without any consideration. Speaking for myself I don’t object to a public option, so long as I continue to have the choice to continue with the private insurance I currently have and like.

    What does the introduction of the welfare state have to do with the state of health care in Europe? If Europeans didn’t have health care before the nationalized system that exists today – then going back to the first person who brought that up in this thread I stand by my comment that Europeans don’t want to change it because it’s all they’ve ever had.

    Which is not what is going on in the U.S. We have always had the choice. And I would argue that if Europeans had the same choice years ago and then suddenly had it forcibly taken away from them – they would not have been too happy about it either.

    I also find it interesting that you find the commentary here over the top – when you use terms like “right winger” and “bollock brained libertarian” I hope you don’t think you are flattering someone who would self-identify as conservative.

    As for evidence of Republican policies failing – does that mean it’s OK for a Democrat to ram thru legislation that will punish 90% of this country’s citizens? The ones who currently like their health care just as it is today?

  • Ken

    Congress won’t pass a single payer system anyhow.

  • Ken

    Oh, and Kris, 90% of Americans are satisfied with the system as is? Where in the world did you get that _that_ figure? We wouldn’t even be talking about change if that was the case, but no bill will ever pass.

  • http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com Western Chauvinist

    Oh yes – comments here are “over the top”, but making claims that conservatives don’t care about “basic sustenance” is just reality. What you don’t know, dry valleys, is a lot.

    You sound very much like the British friends we debated health care with on Independence Day. Despite living here for over a decade, they spoke about the current US system as if one would expect to see corpses piled on the side of the road. They did not know much about the current national plans Medicare (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor). Or that it is illegal for hospital emergency rooms to turn anyone away for lack of insurance. Or that our tort law, unlike Britain’s, doesn’t use “loser pays.” I don’t know, but I assume members of the British parliament use the NHS like everyone else. Not so here. Our legislators have a generous private medical plan and exceedingly generous retirement outside the Social Security system. If the public “options” (which aren’t or won’t be options) are so wonderful, why aren’t lawmakers on them?

    Your tone reminds me of former DNC chair Howard Dean’s comments that, unlike Republicans, Democrats care that kids go to bed hungry at night. And then liberals accuse conservatives of moral preening.

  • dry valleys

    Sorry, I’ve come across rather badly here.

    I am not some smug defender of the British system- which I think has a lot of flaws, such as the fact that recent large increases in spending have yielded little results, & that the excellent quality of medical staff too often yields little result.

    I also do not have any wish to be a cheerleader for Obamacare.

    I was merely saying that I am confused at the American right pointing to European countries as if they had been run into the ground by their health care plans. This link, for example, “What Socialised Medicine Looks Like In England”. It is a cobbled together list of stories about hiccups in the NHS. Most readers would look at it & say “Yes, look, the health service is playing up again”. But they wouldn’t want it to be overturned for this reason.

    There is a reason why people welcomed the creation of the NHS, why there were massive outbursts of joy at the introduction of old age pensions, etc. It is because things were so awful before. Yes, it’s not always a good excuse (for example the replacement of slums with public housing was rather questionable) but these systems have got some form of merit & aren’t some kind of blight on humanity as they seem to be viewed by some.

    Now I’ve long argued that people should be encouraged to provide for themselves. I hear stories lamenting an ageing population & calling for more immigration to make up for this. I think this is ridiculous because socially & culturally, not to mention environmentally, we can’t handle more immigration. It is just a giant Ponzi scheme to think we can offset demographic change by importing more people.

    So people should be encouraged to set up their own insurance, pension, unemployment coverage schemes, & yes it would be remiss of Obama to neglect this. I do not fawn over him in this regard. It will be hard to face demographic changes such as an ageing population but the alternatives are harder.

    I merely return to my point that I have always been bemused by people who berate “socialised medicine”, & they really do seriously use the phraseology I sarcastically deployed.

    & as I said, I can’t imagine this sort of language winning over those who’ve been suffering since mid-2008, many of them Republicans. The constituency of “pro-government conservatives” is definitely one to watch.

  • Ruth H

    I am 72 and within the past two months have had cataract surgery in both eyes. For at least 5 years I had eyes that could not see well, even with the strongest lens that could be prescribed for me. The reason I could not have the surgery earlier was they had to be REALLY bad before medicare would pay for it. If medicare won’t pay private insurance doesn’t pay either. When the doctor told me my eyes weren’t ready for the surgery I asked him what decided ready, and he replied, “medicare.” We already have rationing. I am also looking at a knee replacement within a year or two, will I then be “too old?” What is the cutoff point? We need answers, or better yet, reform not a new system of socialized medicine.

  • http://celticpole.blogspot.com Barb

    Anchoress, (or anyone else for that matter) do you know of any writings (maybe your own) which address a Christian perspective of life/eternal life and the reliance on medical measures to sustain life? I don’t have a clear handle on my question, but this healthcare debate has got me wondering if the medical breakthroughs which have lengthened our life expectancies is best, especially when one has an eternal perspective. I’m struggling with how to word this, so I hope this question is received with understanding (beyond what I can communicate here). Are we, as believers, holding too tightly to life in the here and now, when we ask for medical treatments which may prolong one’s life for a few years, while costing hundreds of thousands of dollars? Can/should cost and energy (emotional/physical) spent be a legitimate issue?

    [Barb, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a good place to start - has lots of information on medical treatment and end of life care. Come to think of it, so does my little book, which talks not only about Care for the Dying, but the churches position on DNR's, organ donation, living wills and extraordinary means...also, you can look at the life of John Paul, II, who embodied beautifully the teaching of the church. He was not shut aside or put down because his body no longer worked optimally; his mind was still lively, and he - even in an advanced age - had much to contribute to our understanding of the value and sanctity of a human life. He was not kept alive by "extraordinary" means, which is something the church leaves up to families. [Extraordinary means, btw, does NOT mean withholding food and fluids, esp. fluids - dehydration is a horrible way to die, as I wrote here of my brother. If someone is dying and has stopped eating, there is no reason to force-feed, but if IV's are available, it is only humane to keep a dying person hydrated. It is one thing to step back and allow natural death to happen, quite another to hasten it through hydration. - admin]

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  • Devin

    Personally, I think we should have a single payer system. We are already rationing healthcare in the U.S. to the highest bidder. There is no way that all Americans could have the same quality of healthcare as citizens in the top tenth percentile. So the question is not should we ration healthcare (we already are, even some of those with healthcare find out that their coverage is inadequate) but rather how we should ration, via the free market or pre planned gov’t program. I vote for the gov’t on this one. More people will be healthier and live fulfilling lives. Plus I got Pope Benedict XVI and the American Catholic Bishops on my side as well :).

    [The pope and the American Bishops are looking for a just system...not one that will put human life on a spread sheet. -admin]

  • http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com Western Chauvinist


    I can’t answer you about writings, but I think you ask a legitimate question. That’s the concern with a public program that “provides”. When individuals pay their own way – individuals get to decide when enough is enough. When the government pays…

  • http://www.reflectionsbykris.squarespace.com Kris, in New England

    Ken – I can’t find the original reference to that 90% that I read earlier today. I apologize.

    But I can provide a link to the latest Rasmussen poll that shows 53% of Americans oppose Obamacare. The represents a 9% increase in opposition in less than one month.

  • Ken

    “[The pope and the American Bishops are looking for a just system...not one that will put human life on a spread sheet."

    Any system is going to have to do a cost/benefit analysis. As others have said, we have rationing now, and rationing is unavoidable. The implication that Obama and Co. are not looking for a just system is reprehensible. It's an ugly charge based on nothing more than a policy disagreement.

    Kris, thanks for the numbers.

    [No, it's based on the fact that Obama's plan is going to be so busy funding abortions that it will not have money to keep grandma alive, or maybe to allow this child to be born. Reprehensible is a good word. You are misdirecting it. -admin]

  • Ken

    “Obama’s plan is going to be so busy funding abortions that it will not have money to keep grandma alive, or maybe to allow this child to be born.”

    What evidence is that any potential Obama plan would deny any mother the right to give birth?

    [Give it time. Rationing and bottom lines all come into the scenario and you know it. I wonder, if Bush were pushing this plan, would you be so enamored of it? Would you be so trusting of the purity of motive and assured of the justness of it all? Just curious - admin]

  • cathyf

    …also, you can look at the life of John Paul, II, who embodied beautifully the teaching of the church… He was not kept alive by “extraordinary” means, which is something the church leaves up to families. Extraordinary means, btw, does NOT mean withholding food and fluids, esp. fluids – dehydration is a horrible way to die, as I wrote here of my brother. If someone is dying and has stopped eating, there is no reason to force-feed, but if IV’s are available, it is only humane to keep a dying person hydrated.

    Maybe someone who has better sources of information can confirm or refute this, but at the time of Pope John Paul’s death I read newspaper reports that he had a feeding tube inserted, even though earlier reports were that his digestive organs had already failed. I was quite disturbed by this — somehow we seemed to have gone from being a Church quite confident to split the smallest hairs in the correct place, to making inappropriate decisions about one patient in order to “make a statement” about another. We have always been the Church that operates pro-life offices and hospices, and supports the theological and ethical work of making fine distinctions in difficult cases.

    Perhaps the news reports were merely garbled? (It’s certainly plausible…)

    [the news reports WERE garbled as they always are, coming out of the Vatican. My general rule of thumb is, whatever the news is, wait at least 4 days for some clarity. In JPII's case, when he first began his final turndown, they DID insert feeding tubes, but when it was determined that he really had reached his culmination, and the tube was pointless, it was removed. JPII was permitted to die naturally, without his life being unnecessarily extended. My BIL, who died of cancer just months after diagnosis, found the aggressive treatment so debilitating that he asked his family to allow him to stop the treatment and let the disease, which was fatal and fast-moving, to take its course with appropriate pain management. He had no intention of simply taking a pill and saying goodbye - his intention was to be with his family through it all - and his final weeks were full of beauty as people shared in his leave-taking with visits, expressions of love and admiration and many clinks of the beercans. Hard, yes. Heart breaking, yes. Transcendent and love-filled, yes. Would any of his children or his widow have hastened a moment of it, or done any of it differently? Yes, I asked them, because I wanted to know if their experience of helping my BIL to die was as life-changing, filled-with-meaning and insight, and ultimately positive as our experience w/ caring for my brother until his end. They all emphatically declared that the walk through the fire - difficult as it was - was a "terrible beauty," and that they were grateful for every step of it. For what it's worth, this was my experience with my brother, as well. -admin]

  • Ken

    Rationing and the bottom line do figure in, and so does human feeling. In any case, Obama’s plan won’t be single payer, and so no woman will be denied coverage of birth expenses (not that that denial would force them to have an abortion).

    I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt for years.

  • Ken

    And by the way, what’s “just” about allowing millions of people to languish without health insurance? Sometimes it seems all the religious right cares about is its own freedom, its own economic welfare, other people’s sexual behavior (not its own divorce and adultery rate) and abortion.

  • lzzrdgrrl

    The Boomer Generation is in for extreme difficulty as elders even outside of, ehm…. obamacare ….

    One, they are not given to moderating personal habits. “Living large” means staying in the three bedroom house long after the kids have left, filling it with rubbish paid for by a second mortgage and too many dogs, cats and birds. Two; their children hate them, being very much like their parents and brought up in the same, self-absorbed manner…..

    Fully expect to see them (and I have) go at each other with hammers ;) …….

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    For God sake, why can’t we just live and let live and stop going backward to our evil ways.

    I hear ya! “IT” is as easy as ABC, right sinner vic?

    What do you mean! Wrong topic? :)

    God Bless Peace