Obamacare & the Insistent Vector of Love -UPDATED

When Sarah Palin talked about the “death panel” provisions residing within the Obamacare bill she was excoriated in the press and by the left for her inelegant and un-nuanced language, and –because she is the left’s Emmanuel Goldstein-in-training – for also being stupid and wrong, and a hick.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee quietly scrapped the provision to which Palin was referring. No, the words “death panel” had never existed in the bill, but Palin neatly identified the inevitable trend of government-managed healthcare toward rationing and the sort of “end of life counseling” sampled in the Veteran’s Administration Handbook called “Your Life, Your Choices,” of which the Wall Street Journal’s Jim Towey writes:

“Your Life, Your Choices” presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political “push poll.” For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to “shake the blues.” There is a section which provocatively asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

Putting a human face on the fears of so many, blogger Kim Schratwieser -daughter of an older American and mother of a “special needs” American Princess – writes to her representative about her Obamacare concerns; it is a shout from her heart.

She’s a loving girl. She loves listening to music. She’s concerned when she thinks someone is sick or in pain. She’s been known to ask people in wheelchairs if they are okay. Most see that she is special and take her concern as it is intended and tell her that yes, they are okay. . . We bought her a pioneer type bonnet there and she calls that her princess hat. She would touch the hat and say ‘princess’ and I’d say yes and she’d say, ‘me?’ I’d tell her that yes, she is a princess. . . She is our princess and we don’t want to see her treated as anything less.

The time has come to ask the question; Under government-managed healthcare, will rationing and bottom lines usurp the primacy of love?

This administration likes to talk about “shared sacrifice” but those families with “special needs” kids and beloved elderly, families whose members live with full-blown AIDS or life-changing brain accidents, know all about sacrifice. They know all about putting aside the “me” for the greater good of the “other.” Likely they could teach this moralizing president the meaning of genuine -as opposed to rhetorical- sacrifice.

Will Obamacare ask the rest of the nation to “share the sacrifice” of such families as the Schratwieser’s by really supporting them -with their extra needs, extra expenses, and their extra willingness to love, and to love, and to love? Or will government health boards determine that families asking the nation to subsidize the health needs of the less useful and productive members of society -often the most uncomplicated among us- are selfish wastrels dipping too deeply into the public coffers?

If Kim Schratwieser’s story leaves you cold, what about this 26 year old blogger, Chelsea Zimmerman, who is paralyzed from the chest down? She declares on her blog that she will never accept an embryo-destroying “cure” for her condition and writes:

Despite being in a wheelchair I still live a relatively “normal” life. I still have the love of my family and the ability to love in return. Apart from working for my parents, I do a number of volunteer duties in my parish and my community. I am a self avowed pro-life activist, doing what I can to help defend the dignity of human life in my community and the nation. I want to help others, especially the youth to realize their Christian vocation to love as God loves and thus build up a culture of life in the world! I have a great life because I’m a human being, dammit, and I know my life has value!

Zimmerman recently wondered at a ruling in Australia which gave Christian Rossiter, 49 year-old quadriplegic, the legal right to starve himself to death, if he so chooses. Since winning that court case, Rossiter -perhaps finding meaning and usefulness as the “champion of other quadriplegics who no longer find life worth living,” has decided to seek further medical advice before killing himself; “there’s a possibility,” he says, “I could still be dissuaded.”

There is some irony in Rossiter choosing to live so that he might be a “right-to-die” advocate, but beyond the irony is the powerful testament to the worthiness of life and individualism, both of which are threatened to be subsumed in the hazy notions of rationed healthcare and the “common good.”

The “special” people in our society are actually very useful to us; in truth, they are gifts. They force us to slow down for them, to take the focus off ourselves, to be thankful for what we have, to be generous with our time. They teach us patience and humility. Some teach us how to look at the world through innocent, not cynical, eyes. Others teach us about intrinsic human worth, about the mysterious spiritual richness that comes with suffering, about the dignity of being truly vulnerable, which puts us at the feet of mercy.

The lives of disabled or “special” people challenge us to look at things that are not always pleasant and fine, and to find the lovable person who still resides beneath all the medical trappings. If we take that challenge, and dare to love them, we will be led into something much deeper than mere materialism and cost-effectiveness, into something that cannot be entered into a ledger, or bottom-lined.

How terrifying that must seem to our bureaucrats who (when they are efficient) are famously, even stereotypically, “all about utilitarianism;” they weigh costs against the perceived or codified “values” and then make decisions as to whether something or someone gets the funding they need to survive. Our “differently-abled” bring the great intangible gift: value-defying wisdom. They help to save us from our ignoble and destructive self-obsessions, and that makes them highly useful, indeed.

Can the ghoulish death-advocates posing as “Science Czars” who advise President Obama really be counted on to care about all the little and big, young and old princes and princesses who require more from their families (and thus will require more from the government under Obamacare)? When we’re already seeing acknowledgment of healthcare rationing, what chance will these “special” among us have?

These are deeply moral questions, being asked by hard-working people whose concerns are being trivialized -and who are being described as swastika-carrying mercenaries and agitators- by other, more elite people who like to moralize, but who won’t give straight answers; they give soundbite-sized assurances, wrapped in platitudes.

In the past five years I have lost two brothers, and two brothers-in-law who were in every sense my true siblings; one died of AIDS after a long, long battle. Another died after thirty years of severe disability brought on by a stroke. Another died of an aggressive cancer for which advances in treatment are being made. One died of plain-old congestive heart failure, after job-related lung injuries. They were each the beneficiaries of healthcare providers and programs that allowed them to live their lives -the challenging lives they had- until they reached their culminations. Their deaths were not hastened by “compassionate” needles and pills that came wrapped with the message that they were useless burdens to society and therefore dispensable and unimportant.

President Obama and the Democrats, and their media minions are in a bit of a snit, just now; they have thus far been prevented from passing 1,000 pages of nearly incomprehensible legislation on their own terms, and without the “vigorous debate” to which they pay deceitful lip service. Those demanding debate and genuine dialogue have been identified as “racist” or “fascist” –anything but “reasonably opposed people” arguing in good faith.

This administration and their supporters, who respond to concerned constituents with variations of “shut up” and “trust us,” and “we know what’s best for you,” cannot possibly know what is best for Kim Schratwieser’s princess, because they do not know her. They cannot possibly know what is best for Chelsea Zimmerman, because they cannot gauge how indispensable she is to those who love her. The value of my own family’s fallen princes is incalculable without factoring the insistent vector of love, which Obamacare cannot do.

Chelsea Zimmerman writes that her life is “realitively ‘normal’” and her scare quotes are appropriate. Who can define what makes a life “normal,” and why would we want a government to make that call for us? Our lives run courses both predictable and unique. Perhaps “normal” should only pertain to the notion that all of us are entitled to the lives we have, regardless of how unusual, challenging, strange, ironic or downright wasteful they might seem to the rest, and to live those lives with love given primacy, even over our bottom lines.

UPDATE: Via Margaret Cabannis over at Inside Catholic, an inspiring story on the primacy of love and why it matters – why allowing life to be born, and loved in this world, matters.

Ed Morrissey links to some sad news on government health care and inefficiency.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://guardianoftheredeemer.wordpress.com Walt

    You said “…the dignity of being truly vulnerable, which puts us at the feet of mercy.”

    Ahh, a concept that truly needs to be broadcast to our culture.


  • http://agangershome.blogspot.com Subvet

    As the father of two autistic little boys, both of whom spent their first few days in a hospital NICU, I feel you really hit the nail on the head.


  • software_engineer

    In our parish we have a family whose daughter has severe cerebral palsy – so severe that she is confined to a wheelchair. For years her parents have faithfully taken her to Mass every Sunday, and the love between her and her family is palpable. I’m moved every time I see her Dad wheel her down to Communion, and I consider it a grace that she is one of our parishioners.

    While I haven’t talked to her parents about this, I can only imagine how concerned they already are for the future – for a time when they can no longer attend to her needs. Obamacare can only serve to heighten their fears for their daughter’s future.

    Please pray for her and for all the other disabled that they will not be subject to the tender mercies of a government health care bureaucracy.

  • Mike

    Just in case you want the link to the actual blog items -

    Putting a human face on the fears of so many, blogger Kim Schratwieser -

    this 26 year old blogger, Chelsea Zimmerman, who is paralyzed from the chest

    [Thanks, Mike, I don't know why that happened...-admin]

  • http://domestic-vocation.blogspot.com Christine the Soccer Mom

    “Normal” life is just hard. Our society seems to push for the idea that a normal life is somehow easy to live, that sacrifice isn’t necessary in this life at all. That suffering is wrong and useless.

    Thank God for our Church, which teaches us that this life is hard sometimes, but that joy – which I see differently than the elusive happiness that the Culture of Death advocates – real joy can be found in and through those difficulties. Sacrifice is good, not just for those for whom we sacrifice (our spouses, our children, those around us in general society), but also for us! We learn to be less selfish when we first push ourselves to do so.

    I was trying to find a picture to use for my post about quitting my job, and stumbled across a few articles on working moms. The general idea passed along there was “Don’t sacrifice for your family! Take care of you first! If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy!”

    This is indicitive of this general “Life ought to be easy” mantra that is all around us. We’re told again and again that we shouldn’t have to give up anything for us to make others happy. We ought to put ourselves first. But it’s this very attitude that is bringing about the downfall of modern society! Sure, there is plenty of lip service paid to being kind to others and helping, but it’s always presented with the idea that you do that after you take care of what you want to do. It’s like making a promise with your fingers crossed behind your back. You can help others, as long as it’s on your terms, as long as it’s convenient.

    But God asks more of us. He asks us to sacrifice, to put others before ourselves. To make ourselves last, not first. And it’s not just for the eternal reward of doing so, for if you do it with the wrong attitude, it undoes any benefits for you.

    When I approach the dishes or the laundry with the idea that I’m some great martyr for re-washing the dishes my children washed (because there are still chunks of food on them), or that I have SO much laundry to do because they decided to change clothes three times daily last week, then there is no benefit for me. The benefit for them is clean dishes and underwear, but for me: nothing.

    But when I approach those very same chores with the idea that I am doing something for my family out of love, that I am sacrificing my time for them – time that I might have spent reading a book or my favorite blogs – and I just give myself away to them, the greater benefit is mine. I become more capable of love when I give it genuinely and without reservation or condition. I can find joy in amongst the pots and pans and dirty clothes.

    This is the point that is being missed on a large scale. That life, no matter how “difficult,” can be lived with joy. That an “easy” life is not necessarily a good one. That our sufferings and sacrifices are of benefit to us.

    That our yoke is easy, and our burdens are light.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    What truly constitutes “normal” anyway? I am 67 years old and commute 51 miles each way, daily, either by carpool or Virginia Railway Express to go to work for leftwing liberal lawyers who represent unions. Imagine the irony of the fact that my principle boss was beside himself when he didn’t hear as soon as I was out of recovery that I was okay. He had called the hospital and they informed him I was in intensive care. He apparently saw great value (to him) in my life which is reassuring. The other person who sees great value in my life is ME. I enjoy my life, as stressful as it may appear to the outside observer. And as a Catholic, I will look with great disfavor at any counseling to ‘get out of the way’ of those younger and more energetic than I am. Grandma Moses did some of her best work in her 70s. I may be just like her – except that I don’t paint.

  • ThomasD

    “The time has come to ask the question; Under government-managed healthcare, will rationing and bottom lines usurp the primacy of love?”

    Only if we allow it.

    If government assumes control of health care they will be attempting to serve unlimited need with limited resources. Rationing will occur and needs will go unmet.

    But does recognition of the presence of another agency ever absolve us of our own duties?

    If we, as Christians, recognize the needs of others it remains our duty to provide for those needs to the best of our abilities.

    Sadly, it is also foreseeable that Leviathan will not take kindly to such efforts – emperor’s new clothes and all that – and will likely make such charity doubly difficult. in this sense legislation like FOCA is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    We cannot meet our personal obligations by foisting them off onto the collective then washing our hands of them.

  • http://reflectionsofaparalytic.com Chelsea

    Wow – I am so honored to be part of this wonderful post! Thank you! And, shamefully, I have not mentioned anything on my own blog about Obama’s many scary “health care” advisers and their advocacy of health care rationing. An oversight I hope to remedy this week.

    Thanks again!

  • kelleybee

    I resent the labels being thrown our way. These health care bills would change the Social Contract that the American people have developed over the course of 2 centuries. I resent being called names for demanding a rational discussion of such a change. A change that would necessarily affect countless lives of our young, elderly and disabled. We can not allow our most vulnerable be left to the machinations of the political elites.

  • Bender

    1,000 pages of nearly incomprehensible legislation

    A thousand pages of nearly incomprehensible legislation is not law, it is a license for the government to do whatever the hell it wants, it is a blank check giving government supreme and absolute power. This is so especially when the pages that are comprehensible give government agencies the authority to interpret the legislation and make rules.

    Make no mistake — a provision mandating “end-of-life” discussions or not, this monstrosity aims to make an authoritarian government “partners with God on matters of life and death.” The whole thing is a death panel.

  • kelleybee

    I agree the 1000+ pages are merely a skeleton to be fleshed with 1000s of regulations that backroom bureaucrats will enact ensuring they are in control of life and death. They will not consult God. God Help us.

  • MamaTod

    This may be slightly off-topic, has anyone addressed the issue of freedom of religion in regards to mandatory health care? The Amish and Mennonite faiths don’t believe in it at all. There might be others. I’ll bet they are counted among the “gazillions” of people we “must” get insured.

    The people writing this bill are either healthy or secure in the knowledge that they won’t be held to it themselves. The rest of us are only one accident away from being special needs and therefore expendable.

    But God can turn the king’s heart like the rivers of water, He can change the minds of Congresspeople too.

  • Bobfan

    “They will not consult God.”

    So people who take a liberal position on healthcare are godless, is that it? Or do they just love God less than conservatives?

  • Karen May

    Oh, dear God in heaven! I just watched the video on Jill Stanek’s blog. Unbelievable!! How precious is life……God is so good to give it to us. The more fragile it is, the more we appreciate it. Oh, Lord, help us all appreciate what a sweet thing life is and how miraculous.

  • kelleybee

    my personal opinion is that a person who embraces the “culture of death” in all its ramifications does not consult the Almighty Creator while writing health care regulations

  • Bobfan

    kelleybee, do you know a single one of the people writing a single one of the bills? You’re speaking from emotion when you throw around words like “the culture of death in all its ramifications” (I’m a great admirer of John Paul II) as if everyone who favors making end-of-life counseling available is pro-choice, as if everyone who favors making end of life counseling available to people who otherwise couldn’t afford it wants low functioning people to end their lives. I think you’re judging a diverse bunch of people without having any idea what you’re talking about.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Bobfan, most of the people who are pushing this particular healthcare reform are Democrats. Part of the platform for the Democratic party is abortion. Abortion is non-negotiable with them. They demand it. That makes them part of the culture of death. Also, didn’t President Obama say that they were partners with God in issues of life? (correct me if I’m wrong).

    What I’m curious about is why do you defend so strongly those who demand abortion?

  • leg

    My dad, 89, is nearly blind and confined to a wheelchair. He’s a man of great kindness, humor and vivacity, who delivered more than 5000 children in his career and helped thousands in his general practice. Yeah, he cannot do those things now, but we spent 3 hours a couple of days ago videotaping memories. His great-grandchildren are getting a living history that is invaluable. Folks like my dad contributed so much and yet there are those who would toss them away like an old newspaper. Shameful.

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  • kelleybee

    yes, is the answer. I try to speak from what I know on this, people and economics. Since you do not know me or my motives I would appreciate that you keep your projections aimed at yourself. Thanks

  • Jill

    I worked with handicapped adults for more than 15 years, including those with Downs Syndrome. It was my honor to have known these people and a privilege to be part of their lives. But has anyone noticed how seldom you see persons with Downs in the community? It used to be quite common, but I think I’ve seen one young man in the last 3 or 4 years.

    I’ve heard that 90% of pregnant women with prenatal tests that show Downs, abort their children. What a loss! OUR loss!

    I become further concerned because many individuals with Downs Syndrome have health issues like heart defects, and Alzheimer’s is quite prevalent in older persons with Downs. What kind of care will these people get?

    Sometimes we need terms like “death panels” to shock us back to reality…to the truth!

  • Bobfan

    Sue, I don’t think many people favor abortion, they just think it should be legal for the woman’s sake. I think that’s an important point. Having said that, while I respect that view as well-intentioned, I don’t defend it – I’m pro-life.

    You write that “most of the people who are pushing this particular healthcare reform are Democrats,” but I think it’s also true that most of the people who cared about health care reform before Obama put it on the table again are Democrats. They deserve credit for it.

    I hope abortions won’t be paid for in whatever bill passes, but I suspect they will be. But most health insurance companies already pay for abortion, so if you’re paying premiums and not getting out what you put into the system, you’re probably paying for someone’s abortion. I don’t see how having the public option operate the same way is any worse.

    Obama said “”We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” That sounds pretty innocuous to me. We as Christians are the body of Christ, after all. God’s not going to write the reform bill himself.

  • Bobfan

    kelleybee, I didn’t presume to know your motives, I’m just looking what I can see on this board. On the other hand you presume to know the motives and intentions of a large and diverse group of legislators and government officials, most of whom you can’t possibly know, if indeed you know any of them at all. If I’m wrong, you’ll be able to show me I’m wrong, not just tell me.

  • Bobfan

    ” Folks like my dad contributed so much and yet there are those who would toss them away like an old newspaper.”

    Can you explain what you’re talking about, leg?
    Would these people like to toss your Dad’s body in the trash? Would they in complete callousness just like to pull the plug on him regardless of his wishes and do so without a second thought, like one tosses away that paper? Would they have the power to do that? And who exactly are these people? What are their names and when have they said this?

  • http://musing-minds.com kimsch

    Thank you so much. I am so happy to know that I am not alone (human wise – I know that HE is with me all time).

  • Wendy C.

    Just read the article on this link “the primacy of love and why it matters” – oh my it brought tears to my eyes. Will you please make sure to post the link to the rest of the story once it is out??

  • Bender

    I don’t think many people favor abortion, they just think it should be legal for the woman’s sake.

    And there goes every vestige of credibility left.

  • Charlotte

    Excuse me…here are the motives: total control of our healthcare for power. If there is no tort reform in this bill (and there is not) then it isn’t about healthcare [oh, pardon me, health insurance] reform.

    Healthcare is not even on the list of the top ten things people are concerned about today. This is a ploy to get control of the population by reallocating care and resources away from the elderly, the young, and the disabled. It’s about power over your life and death.

    There will be plenty of money for abortions on demand for everyone. This is the sacrament of the Dems. All who wish to murder their babies in the womb will be allowed at the table mulitiple times.

    Medicare and Medicaid were to be the safety nets for those who are elderly (Medicare) and indigent (Medicaid). Both of these programs are in trouble because…THEY ARE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. Why not fix these programs instead of re-inventing the wheel?

    If it was so darned great, then the Dems would be yelling it from the rooftops instead of hiding behind President Obama’s skirts and the people who are LEGISLATING this stuff would have themselves covered by this wonderful fantastic bill …but they are not.

    Love won’t be part of the equation. It will be the coldly calculating government making all our decisions. Welcome to the USSA, comrade!

  • Bobfan

    Where in the now dropped provision for end of life counseling, which didn’t mandate it but only provided it for those whose chose it, were doctors told what to say? Nowhere. And may I point out that insurance companies already ration care?

    There is so much fantasizing going on here. Have you folks ever met any real life Democrats? Some of them are so nice you could bring them home for dinner.

  • Bobfan

    The Associated Press reported on August 11 that the proposed bill would not pay for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option. In regards to whether or not the government should get involved with living wills and end of life questions, it reports that “It already is. The government requires hospitals to ask adult patients if they have a living will, or “advance directive.” If the patient doesn’t have one, and wants one, the hospital has to provide assistance. The mandate on hospitals was instituted during a Republican administration, in 1992, under President George H.W. Bush.”

  • dymphna

    I was on the train going to work one day when I overheard two women talking about healthcare. One ostentasiously dressed woman loudly declared that it was a waste of money to do serious surgery on people over 70. The whole car got very quiet while this person from New Jersey or Long Island, I think went on and on. She was advocating letting granny die but by the looks on people’s faces many of them would’ve glady tossed her on the ice flow first.

  • GB

    If the President of the USA said today was Wednesday, I wouldn’t believe him. He has NO credibility.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    If the proposed health care plan is such a great idea, then what are you worried about? Give people time to read and understand it, and surely 90% of us will support it, right? Because it will be so obviously a good thing to do that even a conservative will have to acknowledge it. Right?

    Or better yet, why wait for that to happen? Just have the Democrats vote it in, and then in a year or two start saying “I told you so!” when the reforms have made life noticeably better. It is going to improve the economy and health care, right? Shouldn’t the Democrats enact it as soon as possible? They do actually believe that it will improve the economy and health care, right? This couldn’t just be a move to gain power, could it?

  • Sarah Perdue

    Thank you for your loving and thoughtful discussion of this legislation. Unfortunately, I believe that the opposition is being dismissed because so many are resorting to disruption and name-calling in lieu of factual opposition that can be confirmed by consulting the primary sources. Yours is the first I’ve read.

    According to the news accounts I have listened to the “death panels” would allow payment for “palliative care” discussions in which doctors and their patients can discuss issues such as living wills and whether or not the patient would live the end of their life to its fullest by spending their last months of a terminal illness in treatment or with their families. I believe that these discussions can be extremely valuable. Your analysis of how this could become a conversation that leads a patient to believe they are useless in the name of efficiency is truly horrifying, and I will follow up on the primary sources and reconsider my position on this issue. Thank you.

  • cathyf

    According to the news accounts I have listened to the “death panels” would allow payment for “palliative care” discussions in which doctors and their patients can discuss issues such as living wills and whether or not the patient would live the end of their life to its fullest by spending their last months of a terminal illness in treatment or with their families.

    That’s because the news accounts that you have listened to lied to you. H.R. 1 (more commonly known as the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the Stimulus Bill) contains $1.1 billion in funding for the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The “death panel” has already been passed. The only thing that the “reform” bills would do is to extend the reach of the death panels by destroying private health insurance.

    The reference to the “end of life” counseling is basically a red herring. Doctors are already paid for counseling; there are already established billing codes for it. In fact, the provisions which were taken out of the bills were probably about rationing end-of-life discussions to only pay for them every five years. Now doctors do them whenever patients have any significant change in health status, which could be every ten years or could be every 10 weeks — and medicare pays for it.

  • Irene

    I had a living will made out years ago, at my own expense, simply because I don’t want to leave it up to others, including government officials and pro-lifers such as those who involved themselves in the Terry Schiavo case, to determine how and when I can depart this life. This measure in the proposed health care bill was a positive thing, but some of the readers in this blog and others distorted the intent behind it. Whether that was willful ignorance or malice is open to question. Anyone who thinks that Democrats are in favor of killing people to save money is beyond reasoning.

    [Not willful ignorance, not malice and not beyond reasoning, sorry. I think living wills and "end of life planning" are good ideas. I just don't think they are ideas (or conversations) that should be mandated by the government. (For the record I was not perfectly at ease with the GOP inserting itself into the Schiavo case, either. But I do always argue that if we err, we must err on the side of life). I wrote about living wills back during that period

    If you take a look at the VA handbook, you can see where a case can be made for abuse down the road, where such "assessments" can be carefully conceived to convince someone their life is not worth living. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but I don't see how that renders any other opinion a "bad faith" argument or a "willfully ignorant" one or an opinion past reasoning. It is not enough to look at the actions of a day. We have a duty to look at a piece of legislation and see where it may take us "down the road." To suggest that rationing and rushed deaths are impossibilities, one need only look at the UK. -admin].

  • Bobfan

    So which is it, Cathyf? Are Democrats trying to institute death panels or ration them?

  • Bobfan

    Anchoress, acquaint yourself with the basic facts: living wills and end of life planning were not mandated under the proposed but now withdrawn language. They were simply to be paid for if patients wanted them.

    If you pay for those conversations, some doctors will probably subtly or not so subtly suggest their patients end their lives; that’s true. But if you don’t pay for those conversations, the majority of patients, those with good doctors, will be denied the ability to have those conversations with them.

    [Once again, I'm not liking the tone. I'm well-acquainted with basic facts, Bob and find it curious that you do not find it curious that the senate made a point of getting rid of language that did in fact invite such down-the-road scenarios. Again, we have a responsibility not only to pass responsible legislation, but to look at that legislation and see what repercussions it may have down the road. And I don't much buy the theory that without "government sponsored conversations" people will not have them. I don't buy that "if the government doesn't do stuff for us it won't get done." But if you buy it, by all means, you're entitled to your opinion. -admin]

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  • Bobfan

    You don’t like my tone; fair enough, it’s your blog. But you can be pretty sardonic yourself, and I only corrected your misstatement — or rather, your mis-implication — that end of life counseling and living wills were to be mandated rather than payed for when wanted.

    I’m not surprised the Senate withdrew that language though: you guys won the argument by mischaracterizing what the language meant.

  • Irene

    Anchoress, I read the blog you referenced under my comment, in which you stated your opinions of the Terri Schiavo case and your experience of your brother’s death. First, I stand by my comment that it is unreasonable to believe that Democrats are in favor of killing the terminally ill. That’s just demonizing others and serves no purpose. Even the term “Obamacare” for proposed legislation that had input from Republicans throughout the process, is a slur. The president has been careful to try to garner bipartisan support, only to have some Republican leaders show that their main purpose is to make this his “Waterloo.” In other words, they wish to use this critically important, life-and-death issue of heath care to try to destroy his effectiveness as a president.

    Second, I’m sorry your brother had a difficult death, but your notion that by keeping him “in this world” gave you more time to love him is odd. Death doesn’t destroy the love we feel for our dearly departed. If you believe they go to heaven, then their love for you doesn’t end either.

    Third, if you favor living wills, so long as they are made at our own expense, whose deaths might be “rushed” or whose care might be “rationed”? Those who couldn’t afford to consult lawyers? A living will is a legal document and contradicting its provisions would be grounds for a lawsuit. You are making a strawman of this fear of what may be “down the road” if we pass health care reform legislation. It’s hypocritical to proclaim your enthusiasm for a “culture of life” and refuse to see how you are contributing to the problem of deaths going on right now. People are dying NOW for lack of affordable health care insurance. They are dying NOW by having life-saving treatments rationed by insurance companies. They are dying NOW by having pre-existing conditions used as excuses for not getting the treatments they need, AFTER they have been paying premiums for years! Where is your sense of justice and compassion? Have you used it all up fighting for zygotes, embryos and fetuses?

  • Bobfan

    “Where is your sense of justice and compassion? Have you used it all up fighting for zygotes, embryos and fetuses?”

    I hope you get an answer when she has time. My sense is that she’s plenty compassionate, and plenty concerned for justice. It’s just that she’s locked herself in the right-wing echo chamber. I’ve yet to see her link and respond to any left-wing arguments, as I would expect someone seriously trying to understand both sides of an argument to do. When people only reference people who agree with them, and don’t seriously engage with people who disagree but accuse them of bad faith,
    I take that as either a sign of bad faith on their own part — which I don’t think is the case here — or a failure of love or intelligence, an inability to put themselves in the shoes of their opponents which makes them presume the worst about them.

  • Irene

    Bobfan, I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding that right-wing echo chamber. Some facts are hard to accept for those who prefer to believe their point of view is sacrosanct. As a former conservative Catholic, I can understand her point of view. Been there, done that. I doubt she’ll ever understand mine.

    My concern is that those who lock themselves in the right-wing echo chamber will lose some of their humanity in the process. Empathy isn’t empathy if you only practice on those who agree with you. After all, didn’t Jesus listen to what the Pharisees had to say? I don’t recall reading that Jesus shouted down or ignored his opponents. Religious “righters” don’t care about “teaching” moments; they just want “preaching” moments.