Ted Kennedy, Healthcare & Purgatory – More UPDATES:

Edward Moore Kennedy, 1932-2009

My baby-hood crush on John Kennedy, and my little-girl admiration for Robert Kennedy had kept Ted Kennedy on my periphery. I use this photo because it is the flashing image I always get when I think of Ted, because it was my first real notice of him.

I remember being 11 years old and watching Kennedy make a statement on television after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. What seems vivid in my memory is something I am no longer sure of: was he wearing a neckbrace during that speech? Perhaps that was another time, or my memory is fouled up from all these years of news-watching.

I do recall his voice quivering as he suggested that his family seemed to be under some terrible curse. With the 1968 murder of RFK still fresh in our Catholic memories, and JFK’s death still a long-opened wound, my parents were moved by Kennedy’s tremors. I was moved. My mother who, I must admit, had a bit of a morbid streak about her, counted off the Kennedy tragedies, “Joe, killed in the war; Kathleen killed in an airplane; Rosemary institutionalized after a botched lobotomy….JFK assassinated…Bobby assassinated…what family can endure this? His mother is a woman of sorrows.”

Well, true that. The loss of one child is something a parent never gets over. Rose Kennedy lost 4 in their prime. And being married to Joe Kennedy could not have been a bed of roses, either.

Someone emailed me a moment ago wondering how long it would take for Kennedy’s death to be politicized – specifically by the left, specifically in order to push through the rapidly souring Obamacare, and “wouldn’t that be a dreadful and classless thing?”

The answers, at least on Twitter, are “immediately,” and “yes, dreadful and classless, but nothing less than Kennedy himself would have expected and participated in”; it is what politics has devolved to, after all. Even as he lay dying, the “Liberal Lion” was trying to finagle a means of protecting his Senate seat for his party. Or, someone was. And already on Twitter, the Obamacare proponents are insisting that Kennedy’s death will “give Obama the push he needs, to pass his plan.”

Well…maybe. But Kennedy’s death -outside of the coastal enclaves- will not have the drama and sentimental heft some might expect. Given a grim diagnosis in May of 2008, Kennedy managed, with the help of some of the best care available, to see another Christmas, another spring and even another summer. It’s entirely possible that what Kennedy’s death will really do is bring into stark relief the fact that under Obamacare, this overweight 77 year-old man with liking for the drink would probably have faced treatment rationing and an offer for “physician aid-in-dying”. Kennedy’s death will emphasize yet again that our elected “public servants” enjoy one of the best health insurance plans in the world, while they are trying to force something much less comprehensive (and life-affirming) onto their constituents.

I expect, though, that beyond health care, and beyond the inevitable revisions, hagiography and histrionics in the press (and the competition between the Clintons and the Obamas as to who can best-use this moment) Ted Kennedy’s death will do what every Kennedy death does: shine a spotlight on Catholicism, its rituals and rites and rubrics. There will be lots of people -both Catholic and non-Catholic- who will declare themselves “shocked and scandalized” that Kennedy would be given a Mass of Christian Burial. Some will declare that he should have been “thrown out of the church” a long time ago; others will insist that his Funeral Mass brings shame to us.

Some will focus on his personal sins -the assumed repentance or lack of same (of which they will likely have no real knowledge, just hunches) and some will presume to know the state of his soul, but those will be the inveterates, working from long-habit. Most Christians will, I think, understand that “the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies not over and done” and will simply pray in hopes that Kennedy had made a contrite and humble confession of his failings and sins.

Others, of course, will suggest that Kennedy’s pro-abortion positions, in and of themselves, should damn him forever in the eyes of God.

Thankfully, God knows more, and sees more, than the rest of us, because eventually we’ll all need to count on his mercy, as we face his justice. For all that we know of Kennedy, there is much we do not know. A family member who works with the very poor once told me that when he was in a real fix and unable to find help for, for instance, a sick child in need of surgery, a phone call to Kennedy’s office would set the “Irish Mafia” of professional people -doctors, lawyers, pilots and such- into brisk motion. I think an examination of the life of every “great” person (and I mean “great” in terms of power and influence) will expose deep flaws and surprising episodes of generosity.

As I wrote here, “the quiet altruism of a public man is always overshadowed by the noise of his sins,” and, “Is it arrogance and entitlement that keeps a public man of public failings turning, and turning again, to the Mass, the sacraments, and the tribe, or is it a kind of humility, a declaration of need that supersedes riches and power and all the consolations of the world?”

So, upon hearing of his passing, I say “ah, he’s gone, then,” make a Sign of the Cross, and think of what C.S. Lewis wrote of Purgatory:

Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.’

I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don’t think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I movie downloads or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.

My favorite image on this matter comes from the dentist’s chair. I hope that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am ‘coming round’,’ a voice will say, ‘Rinse your mouth out with this.’ This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now imagine. The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility could endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed.”

What can one do when one is likely unfit for heaven, but possesses just enough charity and love to stave off hell? Let us suffer the purgation, then. I am certain that someday I, in all my sins, will end up there, too.

I feel badly for Caroline Kennedy, for whom Ted was a beloved father figure, and for his kids. Beyond that? One senses this was in some ways a tormented man -but then we are all, in some ways tormented. This article looks at Kennedy’s wish to end his days well. May he rest in peace.

Funny, it sort of feels like “an end” to 1969. Finally.

It is rather remarkable that Kennedy died just as Obama hit the Vineyard; a spectacular opportunity for Obama to, as president, re-dazzle some of the country as their attention is taken off his failing policies. I mentioned earlier that the Clintons and Obamas would be vying for beneficial airtime. Obama, being president (and the press’ darling) will benefit most as he “leads the nation” through it’s “mourning” is I guess how they’ll phrase it.

Reaction Roundup:
Legal Insurrection: Rush was Right. The insane logic that says “because of sentiment, this atrocious bill must now pass. Let’s add to this $14trillion dollar hole” Wow. That’s good governance!
Ed Morrissey: The Captain’s Usual Fair Fare
Abortion: Kennedy did not always support it
NY Times: Kennedy’s death raises issues of succession. I thought that question was settled by Kennedy himself a few years ago!
Michelle Malkin: De Profundis
James Pethokoukis: No Trillion Dollar Healthcare Tribute for Ted
Peggy Noonan: Recalls lines from Kennedy (from 2005) “the whole thing is going to fall apart.”
Instapundit: Reactions from Ireland
Boston Globe: Goes all-out in sloppy Irish sentiment
Jim Geraghty: We would never want to walk in his shoes
Brutally Honest: “God’s mercy on the man”
John J. Miller: a rock star for liberals
Althouse: Will Kennedy’s death justify a return to the “shut up and obey on Obamacare” tactic?
GOP Leaders: Mourn his passing
Jazz Shaw: Kennedy, good and bad
Kathryn J. Lopez: Remembers Sitting next to Kennedy
God: He left a comment here basically telling me I am loathsome, but since he did not leave a real email address, I deleted him. Rules are rules.
Ed Driscoll: a good roundup
Bookworm: Wasn’t going to comment but finds Democrat reactions demanding one
JWF (and many emails) ask: Will this be another Wellstone memorial?. Well, it won’t be now! They’ll guard against that, aided by Catholic ritual.
Kim Priestap: Wonders about Wellstoning Kennedy as well.
Lawmakers react
Kennedy Death Puts Dynasty in Doubt
Confederate Yankee: goes provocative. Very.

Deacon Greg: Who Can Have a Catholic Funeral
Nick Gillespie: The Good things Kennedy did
Causa Nostae Laetitiae: Writes of her gratitude to Kennedy, and it’s good.
Damian Thompson: His Opponents will miss him. No doubt.
Banned in Boston: No conservative perspectives in Beantown, today
Michael Kelly: An old piece on Kennedy, I’d put off reading it for a few days, myself
Roger L. Simon: Thinking of Kennedy via Europe
Baseball Crank: Kennedy the Warhorse
Catholic News Agency: A mixed Catholic Legacy
Klavan: Bye, Ted
Joe Carter: Kennedy’s thoughts on faith
Jonah Goldberg: RIP; WHO is politicizing this?
Discomfort:With the Adulation We are addicted to wretched excess.
Inside Catholic: Rose Kennedy on Faith, Mary and the Assassinations.
Pewsitter: Good Ted, Bad Ted
ProEcclesia: Who is politicizing?
Sr. Maureen Fiedler: He made me proud to be a Catholic. And some reactions to that
The American Catholic: A huge roundup of Catholic reaction, from right and left

Past posts:
The Crucible of Ted Kennedy
Kennedy, Obama, Hillary’s Screams
Kennedy’s Hard Road, and the Privilege of Prayer
Ted Kennedy, Our Father & Me

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Sue from Buffalo

    Zackmon, you write:

    “What an ASS. So you don’t mind thinking of Kennedy going to Purgatory and the Democrats “politicizing” Kennedys death. Well, it is good to see how “True” Christians really think. There is a low low low level in hell for you, hope you like it.”

    For starters, watch your language, bud! No name-calling!!

    Secondly, what is wrong with purgatory? Have you no clue before you post? Most of us who will go to heaven will have to pass through purgatory first. Maybe you’re not Catholic so in that case…learn about what we’re talking about before you condemn us to the lowest levels of hell. Saying that we hope he made it to purgatory was a blessing. We don’t want him to go to hell (unlike you with us).

    Thirdly: We’re not stupid. Of course, the Democrats are politicizing this! Have you read the news yet? They’re calling it KennedyCare.

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  • http://estquodest.com Pauli

    Here’s a good read about how the concept being a Catholic and supporting abortion “rights” can be traced back to the Kennedys.

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

    I think the genocide accusation was mine, A. Still waiting for someone to tell me my history is wrong or how America abandoning support of the South Vietnamese government didn’t ultimately lead to terrible suffering and mass murder by communist thugs.

    Glen/Ken wants to impose political correctness on the day of Kennedy’s death and every day thereafter, because the truth is insulting to the left’s sensibilities. Let’s call political correctness what it is… an effort to suppress the truth.

    I do NOT wish for Ted Kennedy’s eternal damnation as I recognize how easy it is to mean well and end up doing evil. And when you’re a U.S. senator, well-meaning policy efforts can have deadly consequences for lots of people.

    Take, for example, Obamacare. If it will result in better health care for all, while spending less money on it (via the magic of Obamanomics), you should join us Glen/Ken in demanding that all U.S government officials subject themselves to the same plan. This should be something on which left and right can agree. It is only fair – right?

    Obamacare – good enough for us – good enough for Congress!

    To all non-Catholic readers of this thread… I believe it was JPII who said something to the effect, “Just get me to Purgatory!” As Catholics, we believe if God is bothering to purge you of your sins, you’re going to heaven. Praying for Kennedy to go to Purgatory (which in the Catholic sense is not even a place, let alone a ski area in Colorado) is the opposite of praying for him to go to hell, in our view. Just to clarify.

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  • http://lesfemmes-thetruth.blogspot.com Mary Ann Kreitzer

    I will no doubt be criticized for this. Of course we leave Ted Kennedy’s soul to God. But one of the requirements of a good confession is that you “atone” not just by saying three Hail Mary’s, but by trying to undo the damage of your sins. Kennedy committed untold public mortal sins against the fifth commandment. Also sins against the sixth and ninth for his public advocacy of sodomy and same sex marriage. He committed numerous mortal sins of calumny and slander against honorable men and women named to the Supreme Court and other government posts that required Senate confirmation. Robert Bork is the most memorable whose name became a verb. Kennedy was part of the cabal that tried to “bork” Clarence Thomas.

    God only knows whether the man sincerely repented, but the honors after his death are not a good sign. As Fr. John Hardon often said, “only humble people get into heaven.” Let Kennedy’s death be cause of fear and trembling for all of us. I want no honors, no eulogies, no praise after my death only Masses, prayers, and sacrifices.

  • andrew


    Did I say I was Canadian? I am not, my parents moved up there 20 years ago. Your information about Canadian “health care” is not accurate and your source of information is misleading.

    The argument that this is the first step to a completely socialized country where personal freedom will be completely erased is…. ahhhh? Funny. Western Europeans seem to be quite happy with all the benefits they get from publicly funded health care, and they don’t seem too oppressed.

    It’s ok for us to have a completely different opinions and viewpoints,however, the language of your letter and the words you chose to use to address me show that you are the one actually being very emotional about this.

    “Calling me arrogant” for having an opinion that does not coincide with yours is an emotional statement usually caused by anger and indignation . I did not attack anyone personally.

    Using the term “deathcare” to argue against health care reform is emotional not rational.

    There is more in there. If you want me to go through your entire missive and deconstruct your argument to illustrate how your language is a basic tell of your emotional state, I can but honestly. I’m writing this at work and actually don’t have that much time on my hands.
    Peace be with you.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Andrew, you write:

    “There is more in there. If you want me to go through your entire missive and deconstruct your argument to illustrate how your language is a basic tell of your emotional state, I can but honestly. I’m writing this at work and actually don’t have that much time on my hands.”

    Followed by:
    “Peace be with you.”

    That, sir, is arrogance and insult. “Peace be with you” after you rip the person.

    Sounds like: “Boy, I could really tear you up if only I weren’t at work and if I had a bit more time but…peace be with you.”

    What a crock!

  • andrew

    Uh, no.

  • andrew

    You’re still angry and emotional though.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Andrew, you were talking about emjem24. not me.

    And yes. I am ticked off at the way you write about people. Arrogance must be your middle name, Andrew.

    I have no problem saying that I’m mad. LOL. Saying that I’m “emotional” (because I’m mad) is funny. Like that’s a problem. LOL.

    You really need to be more respectful with people who disagree with you. Time you grew up, Andrew.

  • emjem24


    Perhaps, you should have set out, very clearly, from the very beginning, what your nationality was. The fact that your parents moved to Canada, speaks to the fact that they’d rather give up their health care rights then try to help change the existing system. I guess, when the government doesn’t give you what you need, pack up and go, and be a leech on somebody else’s. I wonder how Canadians feel about your parents choice, Andrew.

    I think your overall reaction to my post speaks to the lack of research and actual awareness on your part. You aren’t in the Armed Forces, or participate in the wretched excuse of the VA and Tricare. I do. I know first-hand the debacle that government care is. When you’re told what drugs are available to you or you have to wait 6 months to get something readily available at a Walmart or that you can only have your baby at a substandard Army hospital, then you know something is wrong.

    I speak from cold, hard facts and reality, Andrew. You speak out of emotional hyperbole and shortsightedness. You think government care, in an idealistic, utopian bubble, will suddenly translate easily to our society. Your supposition is a reach and a sketchy one at that.

    I am not being emotional. I am being coldly analytical, unlike you, using my social science backround, basic common sense, and observation to connect the dots and come to a startling conclusion many Americans have already come to. I am a military spouse whose life is already controlled by some distant bureaucrat. I am a participant in both Tricare and United Concordia, both military HMO’s, overseen by the government.

    Perhaps, you should actually talk to real people, military people and their spouses, and ask what it’s like to be on Tricare or participate in the VA? You speak from a resentment of private insurance companies for making hard decisions that you have no clue about. I know that my diabetic mother has coverage for her drugs, doctors, and procedures whereas I have to go through a maze of bureaucratic red-tape to cure something as uncomplicated as a kidney infection. If it hadn’t been for the private provider that Tricare had to refer me to, I could have been in SERIOUS TROUBLE. Furthermore, as Tricare often does, they stiffed this provider, who I thought had been compensated only to discover, after a military move, that my bill had gone into collection and ruined my credit. That’s the kind of system I’ve experienced.

    Private health care often bails out the public system’s mistakes and gets poorly compensated for the privilege. I am passionate, informed, and concerned, unlike you who thinks that Canada Care, that your parents ran to because they didn’t want to pay for their health care (oh, they do- through taxation), will suit the US. Tricare isn’t cheap and it isn’t free. The military and their families were promised cheap, free health care and every time the federal government has reneged. Every time.

    I did not attack you personally, Andrew. I think your condescending attitude, that you know best, when you know very little, speaks volumes. I went through painstaking detail to analyze and tear apart your argument. You made it quite easy. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same for mine because how can you defend Tricare or the VA, or even Medicare?

    Ever been to Europe, Andrew? I have. There are many unhappy Europeans I’ve met who have told me stories of how crappy their health care is. Crappy health care doesn’t make people happy. I often get daily examples from the UK papers of how the NHS is falling apart. Most of the health care systems are a private/public mix in Scandinavia because they’ve already discovered that government care won’t address all their health care needs. The welfare state, in which heath care is a big part, is sinking many countries, including the UK, Spain, just to name a few. Public health care is not cheap, it’s not efficient, and it’s not free. If the UK doesn’t address their NHS problems soon, the system will collapse. That is not the kind of reality I want to share.

    Oh, and by the way, I called you arrogant because of the emotional hyperbole, the misinformation you used, and the stereotypes that many DeathCare advocates use. DeathCare already exists in the VA with botched surgeries, malpractice, and the Death Book, which advises military veterans how to end their lives so they won’t be burdens to their family or government.

    I refuse to play your game, Andrew. I prefer to be honest and blunt. You prefer to hide behind emotional hyperbole, stereotypes, and plain, undisguised resentment of the nature of what insurance companies do. Instead of looking for solutions, Andrew, you pass the blame, and have chosen your side. You think we should devise a new system that will create new problems but that will not solve the old ones. This is what the federal government did with military health care- constant experimentation with less and less productive results.

    Until you actually see the flip side of the health care debate, how can you claim you’re informed? I don’t have all the answers, but your projection seems to indicate that we should repeat other systems’ mistakes. That seems to be a bit short-sighted. Or, I guess we can all flee like your parents when we don’t feel like paying for health care anymore, right?

    You don’t have all the answers and your simplistic analysis of what you think will cure our health care woes doesn’t begin to resolve anything.

  • SallyJune

    I have had a day to calm down from my initial reaction, and what I have come to conclude is this: Kennedy’s religion was not “Catholic;” it was “Democrat.”

    Nevertheless, and although it cost me something, remembering the Cure of Ars, I said a prayer for the repose of his soul.

  • andrew

    Whew, I’m glad you cleared that up.
    Because for a second there, I thought you were saying I was arrogant because I had a job. lol.

  • andrew

    Also, if you want to talk about this in person the next time you come out to Berkeley, Let a brother show you around so you can see how wonderful our health care system is.

    And Sue from Buffalo: I’m sorry you got mad at the way I wrote to what’s his face, it wasn’t ment to upset you.

    Anyway I’m going to http://www.Huffingtonpost.com site now, and read something posted by adults.

    Hope you don’t get sick

  • http://www.winterdream.org Daniel Holzman-Tweed

    “What can one do when one is likely unfit for heaven, but possesses just enough charity and love to stave off hell?”

    I am given to understand that the forgiveness of that supposed unfitness is the entire point of Jesus’ sacrifice.

    [God is merciful. He is also Just. Were I to die in all my sins, even my lesser sins, I would still expect him to mete out his justice to me before I could approach His Majesty. -admin]

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  • Bender

    God is merciful. He is also Just.

    You know, Jesus is the one and only savior. But He never said that He was doing it all by Himself. He never said, “go ahead and torture me, and it will be all sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops for you.” I’m pretty sure that He said something quite to the contrary, something like, if you want to follow Him, you are going to have to follow Him, i.e. join in His Passion.

    Jesus never said that He was going to do ALL the work of redemption. Rather, He was quite clear that, although He would do the greatest part, He would do the heavy lifting and do what was impossible for us, we were going to be required to assist Him in the work of redemption, especially our own redemption. After all, we made the mess, so we should help clean it up. We can never clean it up fully ourselves, but we can help. Redemption is a joint effort.

    We have to carry the Cross. Part of that is enduring some consequences of our actions. Part of that is, not merely selfishly and presumptuously taking God’s mercy, but accepting some measure of justice as well. God is Love, so He is merciful; but God is also Truth, which means that justice cannot be ignored or set aside.

    The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. [Although] Christ carries in His body and on His soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. . . . the more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we draw closer in solidarity with His suffering and become willing to bear in our flesh ‘what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ’ (Col 1, 24).

    Jesus does most of the work of redemption, and He suffers a great deal for it and for us. But He does not do all of it Himself. He wants our help — God helps those who help themselves. Part of that is being willing to bear in ourselves what is lacking in His afflictions, including submitting to the just “fire” of judgment.

  • Nancy

    It’s interesting to read the comments here from people who are deeply devout Catholics and also very conservative. I am a Quaker and a liberal. I hope that won’t stop you from hearing me out.

    Again and again, I see that people misrepresent the health care reform that Sen. Kennedy aspired to create starting way back in the 1970′s. This was one of his life’s greatest causes. I read here that you believe health care reform would have rationed the care Kennedy himself got, that the public option would not be as good as the insurance provided for members of Congress and that it includes death panels.

    Assuming you are intelligent, thoughtful people, how can it be that you still make these claims? The aim of the public option is 1) it is optional; no one has to buy it if they want to keep their own insurance and 2) it is to be as good as the one provided for Congress and 3) there are no death panels. The idea, now removed because of concerns over misinterpretation and unfounded alarms from the right, was to cover counseling regarding end of life issues: hospice care, living will, any other instructions an individual would want to make clear before a medical emergency would render them unable to function – this type of counseling would be covered. That too would be optional. I had an aunt who was dying from ephysema and heart problems. She was able to afford the insurance to keep her alive and alert in spite of that. And she requested hospice when she knew that even with all the medical care, she didn’t have much longer to live. No one rationed her care, and no one told her to give up, but she knew she needed hospice to die in dignity at home when her time came. Hospice helped her and her entire family to provide her comfort, to sort through the emotional issues etc. that end of life brings. Dying is part of living. So counsel at this time is not a death panel. That’s all I wanted to say. I really wish conservatives would read the bill and think about it before jumping to these false and misleading conclusions.

  • Bender

    I really wish conservatives would read the bill and think about it before jumping to these false and misleading conclusions.

    Is it really too much to believe in the good faith of those you disagree with? Is it really necessary to accuse them of total ignorance and lying?

    Could it not be possible that they are acting in good faith, that they really, actually have read “the bill” (there are actually more than one, so as not to be misleading), and that they have also read and heard what members of Congress have said, and what Barack Obama has said, and what members of his Administration have said? Could it not be possible that they have actually studied history and observed and seen what other countries have done, as well as noting the resurrection of a large physician “aid-in-dying” movement, which we thought that the world had defeated over 60 years ago? And could it not also be possible that these are honest people who have, indeed, thought about it and are honestly concerned?

    Instead of reflexively slandering those you disagree with as know-nothing liars, maybe you ought to read and listen to what people are saying and think about it?

  • susan

    Intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate people do not need government plutocrats to take care of us from cradle to grave.

    We are free, not slaves to dreadful Serfdom-that is the road to hell we will not take.

  • susan


    My rights are endowed by my Creator and not by your false prophets, false messiahs, false popes, false preachers and every other rotten fruit grown by the tree of government slave masters which Jesus informed me to see.

    The evil tree will be known by the fruits produced.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Thank you, Bender. I’m glad you responded. I also would like to add that saying that “The aim of the public option is 1) it is optional; no one has to buy it if they want to keep their own insurance” is misleading. Sure it’s optional in the beginning but the govt is so big that all the other insurances would be driven out. Competition would be futile. Not much of an option, is it?

    Why would you (as an intelligent thoughtful person) trust the govt with your healthcare? Have you heard the stories of the VA? My father is 85 and a veteran. I’ve noticed that my parents will go through other sources first before they go to the VA hospital. My Dad doesn’t like that place or the treatment he gets there.

    I have no trouble with hospice. I’ve been there a few times with family members. I just don’t want the govt “counseling” me in end of life issues. No thanks.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Susan, why are you after Bender??? Boy, this doesn’t make sense.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Whoops. In case my post to Bender got confusing: the part I added about the public option, the VA and hospice was to Nancy.

  • That One Girl

    Nancy – One argument against the public option is that it won’t be an option – what employer in his right mind would fork over for insurance for employees when the government is offering it instead?

    I know several physicians and nurses personally – former colleagues and friends – and I don’t know a one of them who doesn’t already discuss end of life issues with their patients, and yes, they get paid for it already. It’s included in the visit. It is ridiculous to add yet another option in the already bloated list of things that physicians can bill for. I’m quite familiar with physician reimbursement, being married to one.

    Finally, everyone knows that ‘death panels’ is just a buzz-phrase, but it’s accurate. How can money be saved in the health care system other than eliminating those who are the costliest, which are the elderly, and the continual slaughter of the unborn so no new people are around the worry about?

    I bet you never thought you would see the day that a woman would have her full-term baby manipulated within her womb only to be pulled out feet first and then murdered. Of course, no one thought Roe v Wade would end up this way. How does that jibe with your pacifistic religion? In fact, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around how a pacifist can be a lib – after all, libs are the ones who were so fond of saying things like ‘you have to break some eggs to make an omelet,’ ostensibly in some effort to drum up anti-establishment sturm and drang back in the day.

    The government wasn’t meant to be a benevolent daddy figure, providing for all our needs. The farther removed the government is from the people, the better off we will all be.

  • Bender

    I confess that I am one of those evil Romish Papists (not real Christians, you know), but I am a bit confused as to the charge regarding “the tree of government slave masters.”

  • Bender

    I have no evidence to prove the point, but I would venture to guess that most of the folks denying the idea of “death panels” in ObamaCare, either expressly or as a matter of practical effect, are the same folks who were pushing to starve and dehydrate to death a certain vulnerable woman a few years ago (claiming that food and water is “medical treatment” and that no one would want to live in her condition).

    For those of us who say “Never again!” and really mean it, we cannot simply turn a blind eye to medical history — a history that we have studied carefully — we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the trend of “bioethics” has been, not to stop the unethical and immoral, but to find justifications for the monsterous and unthinkable. We cannot help but notice when a movie promoting “mercy killing” wins the Academy Award.

    We cannot simply ignore the “inconvenient truth” of a long history of medicalized death, not merely in 1930-45 Germany, but throughout the world. We also take notice that, in the “Medical Case” at Nuremburg, United States v. Karl Brandt, et al., every one of the physicians on trial insisted as part of their defense that they were acting on motives of “compassion” and “mercy” in order to relieve a patient from “suffering” a “burdensome” life. Physicians need not embrace National Socialism to become killers, they can do so by adopting they same utilitarian and subjective view of the value of human life as did the National Socialists.

    Improving the healthcare industry is a worthy objective, but it should not mean jumping into the grave with Ted Kennedy.

  • That One Girl

    I’m changing my name to ‘Bender’s Cheerleader’ :-)

  • Bender

    FINALLY some recognition!

  • Nancy

    Claim: Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia? Claim: Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time. Claim: Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death Claim: Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends. Claim: Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT. Claim: Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
    All False. These six claims are a twisted interpretation of a provision in the bill that says Medicare will cover voluntary counseling sessions between seniors and their doctors to discuss end-of-life care. Medicare doesn’t pay for such sessions now; it would under the bill. End-of-life care discussions include talking about a living will, hospice care, designating a health care proxy and making decisions on what care you want to receive at the end of your life. Doctors do the consulting, not the “government” or a “bureaucracy.” The e-mail author’s assertion that the bill calls for “an ORDER from the GOVERNMENT” for end-of-life plans rests on language about a patient drawing up such an order stipulating their wishes, and having that order signed by a physician. There’s nothing about “an order from the government.” The bill defines an order for life-sustaining treatment as a document that “is signed and dated by a physician …[and] effectively communicates the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment.” See our article “False Euthanasia Claims” for more on such assertions.

  • Nancy

    Hello, I’ve just pasted a section from FactCheck.org about emails that are being sent around the country with false or misleading information about one of the HR bills. Yes, I know there are two bills out there right now.

    The article, “False Euthanasia Claims” is on their website. Just give the website a look. FactCheck.org covered the campaign last year and helped point out both truth and falsehoods based on actual facts (scouring loads of news reports, transcriptions from live coverage, reading journals, legislation – very exhaustively researched reporting) regarding conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. I have found them to be fair, and accurate.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Nancy, perhaps out of all these posts, I missed something. Who was talking about emails? I never rely on emails for my news. Did you not read Bender’s well thought out post?

    I’ll check out your site and see who is behind it.

  • kimster

    i’ve never been to this web site before, but just read this piece. i want to thank the author. i’ve been deeply saddened by all the vitriol about Sen. Kennedy, and even more by the obvious glee of those spewing it. i’ve read nothing so far that so perfectly captures the fundamentals of grace – and the very real need we all have for its blessings. thank you so very much! you have revived a bit of my flagging faith in humanity – not to mention the spiritual things which humanity, with all its shortcomings, can never spoil.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Nancy, for starters, I’d rather read the bill than go by emails.

    Second, your site is owned by the Annenberg Foundation. Not a trustworthy site. This is what I’ve found out about it

    “First, keep in mind: Senator Obama was the first Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was a Division, or Project, of the Annenberg Foundation.”


    “William (Bill) Ayers, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist and a friend of the Obamas, was instrumental in founding the Challenge, thanks to his ties to Mayor Richard Daley. The first Daley was also a pal of Thomas Ayers, Bill’s father, former CEO of ComEd (owned by Exelon).

    [Incidentally, the current CEO of ComEd, Frank M. Clark, is a major money bundler for the Obama campaign.]”


    “You’ll recall that Factcheck was the second site to publish the now-suspect Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) reportedly received from the Obama campaign.”

    “Potential conflict of interest between Obama and anything funded by the Annenbergs, including Factcheck.org. [For starters, why were they one of only a small handful of media to get a copy of the COLB?]”

    All quotes are from the link given.

    Nancy, I’d rather read excerpts from the bill making your point. Otherwise we’re going to go back and forth from site to site trying to justify our claims. One possibility is to quote from the bill and then link to credible sites explaining where it could lead.

    All in all, I don’t trust President Obama (who is anti-life…see abortion) and other Democrats (also anti-life) with my healthcare. That would be like trusting the chickens to the fox.

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

    Nancy and others,

    There are plenty of false claims to go around from both sides. Use of the term “death panels” is inflammatory shorthand for rationing, which is pretty much indisputable. It is false that the “public option” will be an option. It is the goal of the Leftists in power in our government now (if you prefer collectivists or liberals or some other term I’m fine with that) to eventually have a single-payer system. Obama has said it. Frank has said it. Others have said it and it is consistent with their big government philosophy. One of the bills in circulation prevents employers from “dumping” their employees into the government plan for 5 years. What do you think happens at the end of 5 years – especially if, as is claimed, the government plan is “cheaper” (because it is taxpayer subsidized)?

    Are you not disturbed already by the tone of some of the questions of supporters (and some skeptics) at townhalls? “My husband has a traumatic brain injury – are you (government official) going to help him?” “I’m 80 and just received a hip replacement. Would that be possible under the government option?” People are already approaching the government as supplicants. I will too if it comes to that. But, this isn’t anything like the America where I grew up… where the government served the people and protected individual liberty. If this plan passes, we, the people, will be beggared in every sense of the word. Government bureaucrats will have gotten theirs and will promise the rest of us bread and circuses to keep us appeased. To believe otherwise is naive.

  • Bobfan

    Western Chauvinist, I appreciate your concerns, but while you forsee us as supplicants to bureaucrats, I forsee us as taxpayers and citizens with the power of the ballot box, appealing for help not to bureaucrats, but appealing. as we do now with private insurance companies, to fellow human beings.

  • cathyf

    These six claims are a twisted interpretation of a provision in the bill that says Medicare will cover voluntary counseling sessions between seniors and their doctors to discuss end-of-life care.

    No, the “death panels” claim is about the panels already established in the already passed porkulus package which will decide which people can get which treatments. The only thing which the health care package does with respect to the already established death panels is to extend their reach and make them universal to all but the very rich (like Kennedys) by destroying private health insurance.

    Medicare doesn’t pay for such sessions now; it would under the bill.

    Medicare does pay for such sessions now. Some doctors are worried that the bill’s provisions for end-of-life counselling are actually about limiting physicians to doing the counselling every five years, instead of what they do now, which is that they will do the counselling when it is appropriate — when the patient has had some significant change in their health status, for example.

  • zmama

    S in Severn quoted my favorite prayer that is part of the rosary “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.”

    Tonight I prayed a rosary and a Divine Mercy chaplet for Ted Kennedy as I drove in torrential thunderstorms to my parents’ nursing care facility. As someone else posted as a Catholic I believe God’s Mercy is infinite and the above prayer reminds me of His Mercy.

    Still my heart grieved today watching Ted Kennedy’s funeral. I look at my parents who gave so much of their time, love and what money they could spare to the pro-life cause. The fact that they took in young unwed mothers into our home when I was in high school influenced me greatly. My father especially was tireless in his fundraising efforts to convert an abandoned convent to a home for young mothers in need. He gave everything he possibly could until dementia from strokes left him unable to care for himself. His influence in my life led me to my greatest blessing, the daughter my husband and I adopted from China and no doubt my brother and his wife to their two children from Korea.

    I prayed the rosary and the chaplet tonight not just for the soul of Ted Kennedy but also for myself that I not have anger in my heart for those who flaunt the laws we believe as Catholics that God has written in our hearts.

    I know Ted Kennedy was one of many Catholic politicians who have claimed they are personally opposed to abortion but do not wish to impose their beliefs on others. Yet for one who was personally opposed to abortion and worth reportedly hundreds of millions of dollars I would have had more respect for him or other wealthy Catholic Democrats like Kerry or Pelosi if they would use a portion of their wealth to open a shelter for unwed mothers so those mothers might actually be able to choose life for their child rather than legislating that more taxpayer dollars be used to subsidize the abortion industry via Planned Parenthood and others or via this proposed “healthcare” plan.

    My political hero for many years has been the late Robert Casey Sr. As Governor of Pennsylvania he worked for many of the same social causes that Ted Kennedy worked for in the Senate. He was also unashamedly pro-life.
    Imagine if Ted with his family’s power and prestige behind him had been as proudly pro-life as Casey Sr. ? It saddens me that things could have been so different and so many people’s heart could have been transformed by one man’s influence.

    I will keep praying for him and his family.

  • Bobfan

    Re: “the ‘death panels’ claim is about the panels already established in the already passed porkulus package which will decide which people can get which treatments.”

    Private insurance plans also decide which treatments to pay for and which treatments not to pay for. We already have health care rationing. We already have a system under which only the rich can afford any and every treatment.

  • StargazerA5

    The Anchoress:A family member who works with the very poor once told me that when he was in a real fix and unable to find help for, for instance, a sick child in need of surgery, a phone call to Kennedy’s office would set the “Irish Mafia” of professional people -doctors, lawyers, pilots and such- into brisk motion.

    I am a lifelong Mass resident. When I was first becoming politically aware in the early 90s, I asked my mother how the Kennedys continued to get elected. She responded with 2 or 3 similar stories that all related to extended family members who had gotten help in their time of need.

    Yes, the Kennedys are American nobility. Yes, they had many of the worst vices of their Euro counterparts. However, they have never forgotten the concept of Noblis Obligue. That, above all, was their redeeming factor. Personally I suspect it was their Catholicism which caused this.

    While there are many elite Liberals who I suspect support entitlement programs as a trap to oppress the poor and keep them from getting the resources to be true equals, I believe that was no more then a secondary consideration, at most, for Ted and the other Kennedys. Take, for instance, his abortion stance. I would not be surprised if he had heard so many stories of single mothers who needed help that he saw abortion as the only way to protect them. That wouldn’t make it right, but it would make it very Kennedy.


  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    Newsflash Bobfan – only the rich can afford A LOT of things – and what of it? There is no one in this country that goes without vital care – one only needs show up at any emergency room and one will be cared for. Don’t tell me that if your spouse or child were sick you wouldn’t ‘buy’ the best care for them that you could afford – you would. Why should those who have more money not take advantage of it? You’ve made my point – get rid of the damned insurance companies altogether. But don’t vilify wealthy people for using what they have to get the best care they can.

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  • Bobfan

    Re: ” Take, for instance, his abortion stance. I would not be surprised if he had heard so many stories of single mothers who needed help that he saw abortion as the only way to protect them. That wouldn’t make it right, but it would make it very Kennedy.”

    My feelings exactly, thank you.

    ‘there are many elite Liberals who I suspect support entitlement programs as a trap to oppress the poor and keep them from getting the resources to be true equals”

    For the life of me, I have never understood where this notion comes from if not from Rush Limbaugh and his unkind ilk. I’m not saying I rule it out entirely, but can someone please give it flesh and bones?

  • Bobfan

    That Girl, perhaps I was not clear, I’m not sure how ,but you have misunderstood me. I am not villifying the Kennedys or anyone with money.

    People who turn up at emergency rooms because in their poverty they don’t have primary care doctors, as it sounds like you probably know, get saddled with bills they need several lifetimes to pay. I know because I’m helping a family member pay off just such a bill.

  • That One Girl a.k.a. Bender’s Cheerleader

    Bobfan – I apologize for not understanding what you were saying – given the little you did say, it sounded like an attack on ‘the haves.’ You are right that E.R. costs (along with most other medical costs) are outrageous; but the point is that the care is there – no one will be turned away because they have no money, at least upfront. I hope people take advantage of not-for-profit hospitals if one is near, and also check out any social programs, city or county or whatever, that assist with medical payments – I know these exist in some places.

    In any case, the medical reforms being bandied about are simply going to create a whole new and worse set of problems. People seem to have this Utopian idea that every little ill will be taken care of at no cost to them, and that physicians will just have to eat it – and screw them anyway, they already make too much money. Physicians, after spending a minimum of 8 years in school and then accepting their patients lives being handed to them for care probably should earn a little bit more than school teachers. And for the government to mandate where, how, and what they practice, as well as how much they will be reimbursed, reduces them to servitude, which is very different from being a servant, which is how most worthwhile physicians view themselves. This issue is very close to my heart because I’m in a medical family and a part of the medical profession myself.

    Look at it this way – if your family member desperately needed a car or an apartment or food, you’d be in the same boat, right? Well, this bill you are paying ostensibly was the result of a group of people who worked to save your family member’s life – highly trained and skilled professionals who studied long and hard to earn the privileges they have.

    It says a lot about your sense of honor that you are helping to pay off the debt.

    I know you weren’t fussing about any of this and I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but once my soapbox gets rolling, its hard to stop. God bless and good luck.

  • Bobfan

    Thank you for your thoughts, That Girl. There is a doctor in my extended family who shares your concerns.

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