Assessing People as “Units” is Evil – UPDATED

As regular readers know, I rarely listen to talk radio — the reception is lousy in the house and when I’m driving I like to listen to my cd’s. But I was monitoring traffic on the all-news station and something annoyed me so I started flipping around. I hit the Mark Levin show and was stopped in my tracks by a conversation between Levin and a caller who identified himself as a neurosurgeon. Now I need to confirm if this is real.

The caller said that he had recently gone to Washington to participate in a conference involving both the American Association of Neurosurgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS). I couldn’t take notes while driving, but the gist of the call was this: these surgeons were told, by a member of the Department of Health and Human Services that under the new health insurance legislation (aka Obamacare) government-insured people over the age of 70 who present with brain issues — stroke, hemorrhages, etc — would see no automatic surgical intervention, as they might now. Before any surgery could be begun, an “ethics” panel — made up not of doctors but of administrators and bureaucrats — would convene assess whether the person would be treated. “As a general course, though,” the caller said, “only ‘comfort care’ would be offered if you’re over 70.”

“So, generally speaking, it will be ‘comfort care only’ for patients over 70? That will be the rule, rather than the exception?” Asked a horrified-sounding Levin.

“Yes, but they’re not referred to as patients, or even subjects,” the caller corrected, “they’re called ‘units’. That’s what they called them.”

The caller made a point — as I think any neurosurgeon or nurse or well-read person would — that when it comes to brain-bleeds and strokes the faster the intervention, be it medical or surgical, the better a patient’s chances of minimizing damage; the faster the intervention, the better chance of overall recovery. “My ancestry is German,” the doctor said, (paraphrasing from memory) “and I am troubled by what I heard; to have administrators instead of doctors make the assessment…right now, if you come in at 2 AM with a stroke, no one is convening a panel — we’re going to aggressively attempt to limit the damage.”

Under Obamacare, an “ethics panel” will convene to determine whether your life is worth saving or not. But you will not be a “you”; you will be a thoroughly de-humanized “unit.” And the reason you will be a “unit” is because if this enlightened sort of “ethics panel” discussed you as a male or a female, they might be tempted to think of you as a human being — someone’s mother or sister or wife — a person who is beloved, and whose life is valued, even if the brain and body aren’t functioning at optimal levels.

So if you are a 70 year-old Nancy Pelosi
, or Paul Krugman — with a potent private health insurance plan such as the one enjoyed by Members of Congress and other bureaucrats — you will get every appropriate surgery and treatment applicable.

But if you are a 70 year-old former bookkeeper or waitress on Medicare, well — you have swung your last golfclub or danced your last waltz, because the “ethics panel” that assesses your unithood will have no problem inventing a equation that goes something like, “Potential-Tax-revenues-minus-potential-cost-divided-by-social-and-political-value-equals…a negligible unit.

And you’ll be shuffled off to the room with the big screen full of daffodils and excellent speakers blasting Vivaldi, and made “comfortable.”

Assessing human beings as “units” is Evil. Period, full stop. It is a diabolical disorientation. The only people who do not understand that are people who also have difficulty with that inconvenient old conscience thing.

The caller to Levin’s show said he was a neurosurgeon, and of German descent. He mentioned his ancestry at the same time he discussed “units” and admitted he was distressed. The source of his distress was very likely his recognition of a the sort of ruthless efficiency someone in his family once knew first hand, either from one side of the ledger, or the other.

Those “ethics panels” by the way?
Paul Krugman slipped up and called them something else, not too long ago. See if you can hear what he calls them, at right about 1:15:

YouTube Preview Image

“. . .some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes…”

If there are any neurosurgeons or other medical personnel out there who can confirm what this caller said on Levin’s show, can you let me know?

And let’s bear in mind that this “ruthless efficiency” is going to argue that it can insert itself into your reproductive rights; how many units you can have, whether your unit should see the light of day or will be too big a burden on the system — it will perhaps eventually find a preference for genetically engineered units who will cost less, overall. The ruthless efficiency is what some of us, and dare I say, some churches, oppose. Because ruthless efficiency is evil.

Oh, and here’s the Krugman bit, with transcript for the harddrive.

UPDATE: The Right Scoop has the Levin Audio and a partial transcript. My paraphrases were accurate in the basic info.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Marie (@MbernadetteE)

    Dear goodness. This is horrifying.

  • lwestin

    Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel , 2009 : It’s real.

    [Rahm's brother. Thanks. I thought I'd seen this before! -admin]



  • zmama

    “And you’ll be shuffled off to the room with the big screen full of daffodils and excellent speakers blasting Vivaldi, and made ‘comfortable.’ ”

    Anchoress-I think you are being way too kind to these so called ethics panels. I don’t think it will be nearly as nice as Soylent Green. Call me one with a morbid sense of humor but before we were even married 13 years ago I told dh since he is a few months older-that when he gets the letter when he turns 65 (or 70?) to come in for his “injection” I would go with him at the same time. I swear if we are not in the last days and if the Illumination of Conscience doesn’t happen very soon-this IS what we are headed for-forced euthanasia for the old.

    “And let’s bear in mind that this “ruthless efficiency” is going to argue that it can insert itself into your reproductive rights; how many units you can have, whether your unit should see the light of day or will be too big a burden on the system ”

    You are absolutely correct that this will be the way Paul Krugman and others will advocate savings on the front end. I completely foresee a time when women with prenatal diagnoses of fetal abnormalities will be not just encouraged to abort-as they often are now- but will be forced to abort-maybe not as in China with a woman literally strapped to a table- but with the economic forces of being told the child they choose to give birth to with birth defects or Downs Syndrome will not be covered under government healthcare-nor will the expenses of the birth be covered, let alone any developmental services or education for the child. Again, without divine intervention soon I believe we will see this happen in our country.

  • Kirkisright

    Remember when Palin called it “death panels”? LSM pundits and “conservative pundits” called her stupid, well, I think we know who was right.

    So much for passing Obamacare to see what is in it.

  • zmama

    @lwestin-During the early days of the Obamacare debates I sent the same piece by Ezekiel Emanuel to everyone in my email address book, conservative and liberal and received hateful responses from some on the liberal side and even lost a couple friendships.

    Isn’t it ironic that Emanuel and so many others who espouse such attitudes toward the sick/disabled are Jewish, given the horrors of the Holocaust? At least that neurologist you quoted is determined to “never forget”. And yes one of the friends I lost after sounding the alarm about Emanuel’s writing is herself Jewish.

    BTW Anchoress-Have you ever read Morris West’s The Clowns of God? It so wonderfully illustrates what Jesus would say about those among us whom these ethics panels would consider less than human. If you’ve never read it I think you would really like it.

  • Linda-B

    If you recall the date of the broadcast you can download it for free at Mark Levin’s website and click on the “Audio” button at the top. You will have your choice of archived shows.

  • Todd

    I heard the Republicans are behind this, too. It should be opposed regardless of political party.

    [I'd be curious to know which Republicans -admin]

  • NBW

    This is too Orwellian. We need to SPEAK UP by voting these jokers OUT!!!!
    I am so disgusted by all of this.

  • Autumn


  • Warren Jewell

    One thing that Obamacare – call it what you will – does not ‘cover’ or has had considered is that those safely protected government types will be held accountable and receive the repercussions of thousands of elderly who have had their ‘spousal units’ destroyed. The powers-that-don’t-read-it will not be able to have enough bodyguards, Secret Service, etc., when those left with little to live for, by their scales, come after the now-to-held-accountable special government cases.

    As well, with ‘Islamicization’ in the air, plus that Islam is given room and Christianity is not, will not bode well for whole mosques of Muslims, blamable or not. Similarly, with jobs being held in abeyance and other jobs lost to various economic considerations, those seen as job thieves, such as illegal immigrants, and job movers among corporate decision makers may find a hell building up against them.

    And, what of violent mobs who react to government going broke and having no gravy on the train anymore? We are observing glimpses of these in the Occupy Anyplace-But-A-Job fools.

    It should speak volumes to potential ‘victims’ to see a YouTube of a young lady in a bikini testing an automatic weapon. A good portion of Americans are rather ‘seriously casual’ about weapon usage for hunting – it is only a matter of what or who they will hunt.

    If the parties are so willing to see ‘class conflict’, they unfortunately will get it.

  • newton

    “Remember when Palin called it “death panels”? LSM pundits and “conservative pundits” called her stupid, well, I think we know who was right.”

    Kind of reminds me of that Atlantic article of over a decade ago on the evidence against divorce and single motherhood: “Dan Quayle Was Right.”

    But let’s face it: they will NEVER acknowledge Sarah Palin as being “right”, in any way. There’s a “narrative” to keep about her, after all…

    Yes: this is absolutely horrifying. If my dear 98-year-old grandmother or my mother have a stroke tomorrow (Heaven forbid!), someone else will make the decision for them and my family. This is evil. Absolutely evil.

  • David

    You’ll find the audio she is refering to at Mark Levin’s website. Show date 11/22/11 in the second hour. Disturbing.

  • Ben’s Mom

    I can tell you it IS happening now. My darling 94-year-old grandmother, a very vigorous, witty, and loving lady, came down with pneumonia last September. In southern coastal Oregon, the med staff could not understand why “comfort care” wasn’t enough, why we wanted heavy antibiotics, O2, hospitalization, etc. Our extended families across the country called and emailed repeatedly and promised financial responsibility.

    Nana improved and was back at home but weak. In November she had a minor stroke and my uncle rushed her to the ER while the staff DID NOTHING for nearly 12 hours. We finally located Nana’s physician who came in from vacation, rightfully appalled that Nana wasn’t promptly treated. By that time, the damage was done to Nana’s speech and swallowing abilities. We were advised to give “comfort care” alone… no IV, no feeding tubes, nothing. We took her home and my sister the nurse and my uncle the retired Army medic did the best they could for her. Nana hung on until January 14… 26 years to the day that my grandfather died.

    Worse than the bittersweet passing of this remarkable woman was the honest bafflement of the med staff who really couldn’t understand why we wanted to take prime care of a lady in her 90′s. Soulless bots.

  • frank

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Katie Orrico
    (202) 446-2024

    Neurosurgeons Oppose Limiting Patient Access and Government Interference in Medical Care
    House Health Care Reform Bill Jeopardizes Future of American Medicine
    WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and Congress of
    Neurological Surgeons (CNS) announced their opposition to H.R. 3200, the “America’s Affordable
    Health Choices Act of 2009,” currently under consideration by the House of Representatives.
    “America’s neurosurgeons strongly support improving our nation’s healthcare system by ensuring
    insurance coverage for all our citizens. Unfortunately, as it is currently constructed, this bill goes far
    beyond what is necessary to fix what is broken with our healthcare system,” stated Troy M. Tippett, MD,
    President of the AANS. “Rather than pursuing a carefully targeted set of reforms, the House bill could
    amount to a complete government takeover of healthcare.”
    P. David Adelson, MD, President of the CNS echoed these sentiments, stating, “Clearly, we want to
    ensure that every patient has insurance and timely access to quality healthcare provided by the doctor of
    his or her choice. However, this legislation will ultimately limit patient choice, will put the government
    between the doctor and the patient, interfering with patient care decisions, and because of its tremendous
    cost – immediately and in the future – will be a burden to all Americans.”
    Specifically, the AANS and CNS have concerns about the following key elements of the legislation:
     Ultimately, the public health insurance option will lead to a single-payer, government run
    healthcare system;
     Due to its high price-tag, the health system envisioned is unsustainable;
     Under the public health insurance option, the government is empowered to implement rules that
    would restrict patients’ choice of physician and limit timely access to quality specialty care;
     The bill fails to recognize the looming workforce shortages in surgery by requiring that all unused
    medical residency training slots be allocated to primary care and placing the emphasis on national
    workforce policy on primary care, to the exclusion of surgical and other specialty care;
     The bill inappropriately expands the government’s involvement in determining the quality of
    medical care and residency training programs;

    ***** The bill permits the government to arbitrarily reduce reimbursement for valuable, life-saving
    specialty care for elderly patients, threatening treatment options; ******

     Patient-centered healthcare is threatened by provisions related to comparative effectiveness
    research, changes to office-based imaging and curtailing the development of physician-owned
    specialty hospitals; and
     The bill potentially stifles medical innovation and valuable continuing medical education
    In addition, the House bill fails to include an essential element – medical liability reform. “Numerous
    studies have demonstrated that effective federal medical liability reforms will significantly lower
    healthcare costs by reducing defensive medicine and eliminating frivolous lawsuits from the system,” Dr.
    Tippett noted. “Congress cannot call this health care reform without addressing this problem.”

  • Andrew

    I do not know enough about this to comment authoritavely (although if it is as presented it is horrifying). However, I have worked on enough Government policy proposals (in the UK) to know that the facts of any given proposal rarely get a hearing as they are drowned out by vested interests and hysterical media on both sides of the argument. As such, I rarely judge a proposal until I read what is actually being done (either in consultation or the legislation itself). I suspect the same applies with this.

  • SKay

    Yes Todd-name the Republican. What Republican voted for this monstrosity?
    Non that I remember.

  • fiestamom

    My 71 y/o dad just met with a neurosurgeon TODAY!! He even jokes that he hopes he gets this taken care of before Obamacare sets in. I’ve heard more than one person say that about their health issues.

    Evil doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for this. I guess la Pelosi’s “conscience” doesn’t bother her about this.

    Todd, Obamacare passed w/out one!!!!!! Republican vote, btw.

  • jane

    This more than explains the “care” my 84-year-old mother got at a very large, and one of the best, BTW, hospitals in our large city here in Canada. It wasn’t a brain issue but something else which had left her debilitated, dehydrated, and unable to take food or drink by mouth.

    It took every Valkyrie-like trait possessed by my sister and me, first, to have her admitted, and, second, to ensure that the directives of the admitting doctor were followed. Nothing appeared to have been written down concerning her care and every day we were in the hospital, we’d have to re-create the wheel as we merely insisted on procedures we’d been told would happen. It was a nightmare experience and then she was unceremoniously discharged from the hospital without the MRI that had been promised.

    We genuinely got the impression that she was just “too old” to merit proper care, duly and diligently carried out by hospital staff. The subtext was “she’s past her sell-by date, keep her somewhat comfortable — but not too comfortable — and get her out of here ASAP. We need the bed.”

    It can only get worse.

    (The other issue which was chilling was that when we left our mother in the “inner ring” of the emergency department the day we had her admitted, we walked into the waiting room of Emerg. to discover what looked like a security guard/police officer convention: These were “the honour guard” of the drug addicts, prostitutes, and drunks who were being brought to Emerg. from our city’s mean streets. One wonders about all of the resources taken away from genuinely ill through-no-fault-of-their-own patients …)

    [I understand that you are angry and hurting, but I do think everyone who needs care should receive care, even if they don't measure up to someone else's standards, don't you? -admin]

  • marc in calgary

    Mark said he’d be putting this call in hour 3 of his “best of…” today, as he’s taken the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving.

  • Elaine

    I can not believe that this is possible. I was so distressed when I heard it on Levin’s show last night. My husband and I looked at each other in amazement. His mom is 92 and fell when she was 88 and had bleeding in her brain and operated on. She recovered quickly and out of hospital in four days and back to normal. She is in good shape and active. To think that someone who is 70 will not be given life saving care when it is possible is devastating. I hope this is not so and can only say that this President has caused more angst than any leader I can remember. We can’t retire in peace and our younger generation and many of our citizens are struggling in this economy. Obama care has got to be addressed now and if this is true then shouted from the roof tops before the election.

  • Greta

    I find it amazing that anyone would be surprised at the long term plan of the party of death. Remember that on the front end they fund and support the abortion mill industry which has killed over 50 million innocent babies. Also, unless folks have not been paying attention, part of the non stimulus bill had funding (not near enough) to fund doctors installing electronic medical records in their offices PROVIDED they agreed to use it and send in “meaningful use” data to be determined by the federal government HHS. Thus, every time you go to a doctor, they will get a lot of information about you as an individual and a lot of data which they will use to determine the most effective means of care you should receive. This leads directly to not only death panels, but quality of life panels, and potentially taxes on those who do not do what the federal government thinks you should be doing or what is politically correct. ObamaCare is the total surrender of our freedom to the federal government and none of this is needed to fix the issues of healthcare which is cost related issues. Of course the democratic party could care less about federal costs because they believe that the people can be taxed to the max to fund whatever big government solutions they can think up to gain ever more power and control. This next election should seal our fate as a country as we will not survive four more years of an unfettered Obama. It is not just the government programs, regulations, and taxes, but the people he puts on the federal courts that will forever change this country in a very negative direction. We will be a third rate country like those now blowing up in Europe. Forgive me, but I believe that this is what both Obama’s wants for the USA into the future. I will never forget the slip Michelle made early in the election process last time when she said she was proud of America for the first time in her adult life only because it had voted for her husband and his radical views nor Obama complaining about americans who cling to their religion and guns. Now we see Nancy Pelosi talking about Catholics who are not supporting abortion and the democratic agenda have with their conscience.

  • Anil Wang

    Calling them ethics panels is a euphemism pure and simple.

    What is the ethics of people people in need? Any ethics panel that says no, is unethical.

    Triage is sometimes necessary, but the goal of triage is to prioritize treatment to save the most lives as possible, and not to judge which lives are with living. In triage, in any case where there are no resourcing issues, if all people can be treated, all must be treated. Not so with this un-ethics panel.

  • Debbie

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Ma’am I’ve been on medicare and haven’t seen my doctor for over 10 years. I see a Physician’s Assistant. Insurance refuses to pay for well checks and pap smears. Even though page 38 in my Medicare book says it’s covered I’m put on this merry-go-round on the phone. It’s the coding or it’s some other excuse. I don’t want to go get a a mammogram or a chest x-ray, it’s become a source of anger for me.

    Since 2006 five members of our family and several friends have shuffled off to the other shore, all of them via the Hospice program. All but two, were totally cognizant of her choices in the matter. Some were taken from homes, some tied to beds, while administered morphine until they no longer ate or drank anything. They died of thirst.

    It scares me to think of all of the abuses that are going on in this system and no one is investigating it. I pray that one day it will come to our public conscious. Hospice care is but a prelude to what lies in our futures with Obamacare. Until then, the Greatest Generation pays the ultimate sacrifice at the mercy of Medicare.

  • kevin

    My disgust with the Obama regime and what it has in store for America hit a new high with this story. You know when the Obamas hit 70 none of these for “units” over 70 will apply to him. My God 70 is not even really that old anymore.

    None of this should really surprise us having elected someone who voted against measures protecting babies born alive after failed abortion. Now he wants the Catholic Church to provide abortion and contraception while “assuring”
    Bishop Dolan that he is earnestly considering the viewpoints of Catholics. What a load of bull. Thank God we have people like the Great One who expose the dirty little secrets of this administration.

  • Raphael

    For what it’s worth, I used the wayback machine to confirm that the CNS (Congress of Neurosurgical Surgeons) did have a meeting in Washington, DC, on October 1 – 6, 2011. Description from website:

    “Please join your colleagues in Washington DC for the 2011 CNS Annual Meeting, October 1-6. Our 2011 Annual Meeting theme, E Pluribus Unum: The Specialty of Neurological Surgery, recognizes the tremendous impact we have on the public through the synergies within organized neurosurgery, and our scientific program will present the highest-impact original science as well as innovative sessions and hands-on courses to help you improve your neurosurgical practice. And be sure to make time during your stay to truly experience the historic city of Washington, DC.”

  • Libby

    This is just disturbing. So many questions:
    *How many ethics panels will there be? How often will they meet? (i.e. will some decision be made because they put off a decision until it’s too late?)
    *Who serves and how are they selected? What qualifications must they have (i.e. political appointees or some medical experience required?)
    *What other factors are considered in addition to the “unit’s” age?
    *What recourse does someone have after a decision is made – or will we even be told of the decision (i.e. will doctors merely omit mentioning life-saving options that have been ruled out by the panel?)
    *Under what authority are these ethics panels created – is this specified in the ObamaCare bill or is this one of those areas that was vaguely worded so that it could be determined by HHS?
    Why is none of this being made public by HHS, Congress, etc. (I know the answer to that one – but do our Congressmen even understand this is going on?)

  • Living the future

    Let me be clear: this is occurring already. I take care of patients with congenital medical problems who require lifetimes of therapy. These therapies, which are life-saving and life-preserving cost thousands of dollars.

    I gratefully work in a generous NE state that provides medical assistance for all children. But at age 18, these young men and women are cut loose and if they do not get insurance they will suffer and die at an early age. Excellent attention to care prevents these individuals from qualifying for disability.

    I see these patients for free. They do not get therapies for free. The cost of their therapies is often over $25,000/year. I have had patients lose their varied therapies and become incapacitated and unable to work.

    This is occurring now, and deliberately.

    I have little time for pretending this would be new in the future. The poor have this happen now. And most of my patients work for a living, by the way (so the Michelle Bachmann answer-get a job-is insufficient).

  • Dymphna

    This is horrible and must be stopped. The question that remains, however, is this:
    What do those of us who work but do not have and cannot afford health insurance, do? We need AFFORDABLE healthcare for EVERYONE at EVERY age. Only the Church has a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death. All people deserve to be cared for.

  • Living the future

    The other party of death was at the helm from 2001-2008 with huge majorities in every branch of government for many of those years. I did not see my patients needs met any more during that time period. Shameful behavior on this matter is not just one party’s problem.

    In their worship of the invisible hand of the market, the American people have determined that someone must not be cared for. Someone, it has been determined, in the US must receive inadequate health care that causes suffering and death. Currently it is the poor adult survivor of congenital disease, in the least.

    I am unclear if the deliberative neglect of the poor in our midst is any worse than the deliberative neglect of the elderly.

  • james

    Goes on here all the time in Canada. Nurses are now pushing for “euthenasia”.

  • Todd

    “I’d be curious to know which Republicans.”

    Pretty much anybody connected with the corporate interests: saving money and maximizing profits for shareholders. Arizona comes to mind.

    The truth is that this immoral stinginess goes beyond either political party. In a sane society, we’d be able to put the clamp down on foreign adventurism and profiteering. My criticism of the president’s health insurance reform is that it didn’t go far enough and it didn’t invest enough resources. We need a single payer system, and everybody gets the care they need.

    The way things stand now, we largely have corporations deciding who lives, dies, and gets treated or not. You may think Mr Obama is a demon, and you have the right to vote him out (if only you can find a viable opponent). Try voting out the death panels on your insurance company. See how far you get with that.

    ["pretty much anybody..." No, come on, Todd, you said you'd "heard there are Republicans" who support this and I think it's not unreasonable to ask who they are -- so that concerned conservatives KNOW and either remove their support or give them hell for it. And please don't suggest that I think Obama "a demon." I pray for him every night, and think no such thing. This is a wicked policy, but humans do wicked things. That's why we pray. -admin]

  • Teresa

    I also heard Mark’s broadcast and I frankly don’t know why everyone is surprised at this. The regulations implementing Obamacare have been in the works ever since the monstrous law was passed (without Repubican support). Euthenasia will be next unless the next Congress overturns the law. Some are hoping the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional. don’t bet on it.

  • Richard Johnson

    SKay: “Yes Todd-name the Republican. What Republican voted for this monstrosity?
    Non that I remember.”

    For the Obamacare bill? None. But try this one on for size, and recall what Arizona attempted earlier in the year to cut their Medicare/Medicaid costs.

    ““With a $175 billion budget shortfall – the worst state budget crisis since the Great Depression – states are seeking real solutions from Washington that will effectively lower entitlement spending and ensure the solvency of safety-net programs, like Medicaid,” said Hatch, who has led the charge against the expansion of Medicaid in the new health law.

    “These onerous requirements have been a poison pill for states from day one – limiting their ability to lower Medicaid spending and balance their budgets; prohibiting them from targeting scarce resources to their most vulnerable beneficiaries; and hampering their ability to implement responsible program integrity modernizations,” Hatch continued. “By rolling back these burdensome, budget-busting constraints, this legislation heeds to the calls of states from across the country and provides a common-sense solution to stem the growth of government and begin to put the states, not Washington, back in charge. Regardless of political affiliation, this initiative has the potential to garner strong, bipartisan support and represents a strong first step in achieving comprehensive Medicaid reform.””

    And how did Arizona attempt to trim their Medicare/Medicaid budget?

    “Tucson University Medical Center has confirmed that a patient who was refused a liver transplant due to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to cut the state benefit that would have made the transplant possible, has died. The patient had been scheduled for the needed transplant but was dropped from the waiting list on October 1st when the cuts went into effect.”

    Now there are those among you (Greta) who can only see the evil that is in a Democrat sponsored proposal. Having sold her tortured soul to the Republican party I am certain she would rise to defend Senator Hatch and Governor Brewer as simply “allowing the market to dictate healthcare choices”. But for the rest of you who actually seem concerned about the *whole* of your faith’s teachings, perhaps you’ll be at least willing to entertain the notion that those Republican candidates who wish to repeal the dreaded Obamacare have offered *nothing* that would step in and help those people you express concern about.

    [And this is why, finally, I cannot support government funded healthcare -- it forces these wicked hands to be played and for health care for human beings to become politicized and bottom-lined. We did not have to go this route. There were other options, including allowing interstate insurance policy sales and allowing the uninsured to buy into the state government employee policies (Giuliani (uncaring Republican, btw) did this in NYC -- offered the uninsured the opportunity to buy into the city employees policy; it was a brilliant idea.) Obamacare didn't have to be a dubious monstrosity. It could have been something completely brilliant, but the leadership utterly failed to apply imaginative solutions or work together. There were solutions other than Obamacare; DC did not want to hear them, and most certainly Obama, Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid -- in control of the WH and both houses of congresss -- did not want to hear them. I think, ultimately, if Obamacare is not repealed, it's going to prove to be the thing that destroys us. In many ways -admin]

  • friscoeddie

    I await Update II .. who believes or gets their news from talk radio?.. nobody but the ‘death panel ‘ folks who blog here. As an 79 year old I already signed a paper saying I don’t want any ‘last care’ that’s not available in a 3rd world country. You know what that is… what people did for 40,000 years.. it’s called palliative care.. comfort.. Catholic dying calls for dying with’s inevitable, so stop the feigning fear about inadequate medical gymnastics care ,, dying is OK and should be done without a lot of tubes tied to a corpse. Why not join the Michael Jackson/Steve Jobs crowd who complain these men were so poor that they had inadequate care… instead of Blaming Obama for grandma dying.. how about the 45 million w/o any health care? how about the 1 million college aged kids to age 26 who were added on to mom/pop’s health care this year?. 4 of my grandkids are on now .. how about yours?

    [It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that "nothing" that comes across on talk radio can possibly accurate, you know; even I know that. As to your point, I have absolutely no issue with a patient requesting palliative care over extraordinary means, and indeed that is something the church supports -- knowing when one's reached one culmination and assenting to it, rather than trying to beat death back when it is one's time. But having worked pastorally with brain-injured people (and dealt with massive stroke injuries to family members) I know firsthand that the faster the care, the more likely one will pull out of it, even if -gasp- one is seventy, especially if one is seventy and largely healthy. You're too smart not to see where this efficient and utilitarian mindset will lead us. First it's the 70 year old's, then it's the babies who are not perfect -- this spirals. You know it. I'm sure there will be plenty of babyboomers who will now start to lecture the world on the morality of dying as soon as the years make things a bit difficult, but imperfect or difficult lives are still the lives people have; they're entitled to them. Have a happy Thanksgiving, Eddie -admin]

  • Todd

    “No, come on, Todd, you said you’d “heard there are Republicans” who support this and I think it’s not unreasonable to ask who they are”

    Jan Brewer comes to mind. The Republican controlled legislature in Arizona. Death panels aren’t only the ones that poke Democrats.

    Let’s not labor under any illusions that the GOP or conservatives are any more moral than liberals or Democrats. And if it fattened the campaign coffers, you can bet many politicians of both parties would fall all over themselves and trample babies and eightysomethings to lap it up. This is why I’m more and more convinced that major party politics is a sham and a moral trap.

    [Ah, you take a turn from Richard. Alrightly, then. On your last sentence, you and I were never in more agreement -admin]

  • Mark

    Todd makes a statement and can’t back it up. Richard Johnson comes up with Arizona as a response to the issue raised which is a massive Obamacare program and death panels by suggesting that Arizona actions are somehow related or just as bad as ObamaCare. Folks, the states are drowning in debt and have little flexibility to do much of anything to try different methods of dealing with the issue of promises for free medicare care for the poor made by the democrats over the past 40 years or so. We did not have a cost problem in healthcare until LBJ and the democrats passed Medicare and then added Medicaid and a whole set of various programs that they funded by putting social security trust funds into the general fund which has created huge problems there as well. Trace the overall healthcare costs prior to medicare and after and you see it skyrocket in the year Medicare passed. That is why many believe the Democrats have set up huge ponzi schemes that cannot be sustained. Is it good to provide healthcare to the poor and elderly? You betcha. Is it good to provide them housing, transportation, welfare, income tax credits besides not paying income taxes, and a variety of other benefits? Why not. If the democrats had done to the food purchasing what they did to healthcare, none of us could afford to buy groceries today. The simple fact that has to be learned is that when the federal government does anything, they do it poorly, it costs many multiples of any of their original estimates, they will want to continually add more benefits onto the tree, and there will be massive fraud and abuse as well as massive administrative costs and inefficient operation. To compensate for all of this, the democrats are constantly looking for tax revenues in every increasing amounts.

    I challenged a large group of young Catholics I meet with to name a federal program that is efficient, spends the actual projected amount of money, has not resulted in some massive new agency or expansion of an existing one, and would be rated excellent by those who use the service. That was about a year ago and I have yet to get a response the group does not tear apart with any investiagtion.

    Healthcare can be fixed, and during the so called healthcare debate, the Republican Party offered up well over a hundred amendments which they suggested should be passed on an individual basis and would result in immediate cost savings without massive new federal government growth. Every single suggested amendment was shot down which is why it was not surprising that there was not a single Republican vote for ObamaCare which fixed little while screwing up the entire system and putting jobs on hold until this mess is settled. If ObamaCare is not ruled unconstitutional and thrown out and if the Republicans do not win with large enough majorities to repeal it, our jobless problem will become generational. This is not a minor matter and one that should not be on the minds of all who vote. Obamacare caused lawsuits by 23 states and counting and waiver requests by many more because it will literally bankrupt the states.

  • SKay

    Todd–states cannot print money like the federal gov. does–they have to balance their budget.
    The taxpayers of that border state by law also have to provide healthcare for those who cross the border illegally. There is extra law enforcement because many are involved in drugs, etc. It is now being acknowledged that some – not all – but some of the wildfires in that state have been caused by illegals – and the state is responsible for fighting them in order to protect Arizona citizens. Perhaps just some of this is why state money was not available for the transplant at that time -and that was heartbreaking.
    As a matter of fact all of those millionairs who want to pay more to the federal government could have helped.

    The Obamacare plans for those over 70 are outrageous. I remember hearing about some of the views of the people Obama and his administration involved in the early planning of this bill and Rham’s brother was one of them. This sounds like some of his ideas. This is a Democrat bill and they used taxpayer money to pay off Dem. Senators and Dem. House members to vote for it–the Louisiana Purchase(Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana) was one of them.

    I am reading a book about what happened between WWI and WWII in Europe and Russia–and the evils that led up to WWII. I sometimes have to put the book down for a while. Hard to believe that humans could be so cruel –just to advance an Idiology-that in the end did not work. The end justified the means in their twisted minds-if they even cared.
    Calling human beings units seems to be a path to the same kind of thinking.

  • Living the future

    One cannot have cost savings and more health care. Discussing reductions in health care cost are equivalent to either reductions in care, quality of the extremely expensive products, or the salaries of the workers in health care. This last point is most likely and is really the area that folks need to just confess.

    Sure, there is some crazy discussion of the economic impact and low efficiency of government funded activities. Let’s be clear about these economic theories-they are untested and no 20 economists agree on this. It may be a false theory that these libertarians are foisting out there. In general, modern chemotherapeutics require extremely novel drugs that require intense preparations and have high quality control. Without government support, these expensive items might never have been developed, not that they would be cheaper. That is the most likely truth to the role of government investment in health care-not that it is artifically driving the prices up, but it is driving the development of the products by ensuring there is a market for them. Hence, ensuring that people get care-shockingly doing what it is being accused of denying.

    The field of health care is a service industry. Most of the cost is in the personnel cost. Basically, one is discussing cutting physician and nursing salaries.

    Fine. Just say it. Most other countries with socialized medicine have nurses and doctors making a fraction of the current American salary structure.

    The economic downside-rapidly reducing the salaries of the nearly 20% of the workforce in health care will suck an enormous amount of money out of the economy immediately. In this consumption-driven economy, that will put a huge chill on buying power and drive the nation’s growth down dramatically in the short and medium term.

  • Living the future

    I see in these comments two arguments in the same sentence in most boxes.

    First folks are incensed at the deliberate denials of health care based on age and then defend Republican cuts to programs that ensure people will suffer and die because such programs are too expensive.

    I am missing something in the logic. It seems to be ok to permit this for poor folks.

    [And then there are some of us who decry the dehumanization of people in one program, and also do not support the cuts, either. We're the ones suggesting other solutions. No one seems to want other solutions, though. It's all one extreme or the other, or there is no discussion -admin]

  • Living the future

    “First it’s the 70 year old’s, then it’s the babies who are not perfect — this spirals.”

    Not true-many of your conservative confreres above are arguing that its ok to do this if they are poor.

    First its the poor (already there-check), then its the babies with genetic defects who have expensive (even though likely treatable medical problems) who are aborted in utero, then its the elderly.

    Quite frankly, the elderly vote already. They are far more powerful than the other two groups of folks.

    [I'm not a conservative, so I don't have "conservative confreres" -- I don't know anyone who argues, though, that it's okay to dehumanize the poor. -admin]

  • Richard Johnson

    Anchoress: “And this is why, finally, I cannot support government funded healthcare — it forces these wicked hands to be played and for health care for human beings to become politicized and bottom-lined.”

    Yes, Anchoress, there is blood on the hands of even the “pure” pro-life people in this regard. Let’s go back to a young child named Sun Hudson.

    This infant had life-sustaining healthcare removed from him by an “ethics board” of a hospital. The law that enabled this atrocity was the Texas Health Code, chapter 166.

    Of special interest is this quote from the HealthLawProf blog: “These provisions, which were added to Texas law in 1999, originally applied only to adult patients; in 2003; they were made applicable to disputes over treatment decisions for or on behalf of minors. (I hasten to add that one of the co-drafters in both 1999 and 2003 was the National Right to Life Committee. Witnesses who testified in support of the bill in 1999 included representatives of National Right to Life, Texas Right to Life, and the Hemlock Society. Our bill passed both houses, unanimously, both years, and the 1999 law was signed by then Governor George W. Bush.)”

    When National Right to Life and the Hemlock Society come together to support such a proposal, shouldn’t it raise an alarm in the pro-life community?

    Indeed, these wicked hands are being played daily, and the bottom line drives far too many decisions. Simply taking the government out of healthcare and leaving the poor and infirm in the tender hands of private insurers (who know nothing BUT the bottom line) is not the solution.

    As for allowing the poor to “buy into” insurance plans, from where does this money come? Is this another paean to the god of the free market that if only we will trust him he will deliver us into all good? Will cutting taxes magically provide jobs for the poor so that they can buy into these insurance pools? And will these insurance pools operate in any more of a moral manner than Obamacare (or the current Medicare/Medicaid?

    [You ask "when "right to life" and "hemlock" sides come together (etc) and it is a bit of a straw man. Are you suggesting that there is never a point where both groups can take an interest in the issue of death and medical care? I remember the Sun Hudson case, and again this gets to the issue of end of life care. The Catechism is very helpful in forming thought on this issue: #2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment.... -- the worry is always that people will make relative judgements about what constitutes "extraordinary" or "disproportionate to the expected outcome" treatment. Sun Hudson could not live without the respirator. Terry Schiavo could. Some argued that Sun should be sustained on the respirator for as long as the family desired it; some argued Terry should die, even though she could breathe on her own, take nourishment and (according to nurses who treated her) swallow soft foods and respond to stimuli. The difficult issues of life and death should not really be reduced to a pissing contest about "which side has more blood on its hands" but I suppose that's inevitable, given our climate. That said, this extremely flawed health care plan is being organized and planned around dehumanizing people as "units" of measurable value, and it was put into place by people who were not interested in hearing other ideas than their own. is what it is, however you want to spin it. You denigrate the "free market" plans I mentioned as still inadequate to the problem, but the truth is, if consumers had more choices for insurance, the competition would drive rates down, which means more could afford insurance which would LESSEN the government's burden, enabling them to deal more generously with those who really can't afford insurance -- so that in the end the poor could conceivably receive better and more plentiful care than they will under this massive and already unsustainable idea, and frankly, everyone will be covered, one way or another. But apparently, I'm just, according to some, a hater who doesn't really care the way others do, so what do I know? -admin]

  • Richard Johnson

    “These were “the honour guard” of the drug addicts, prostitutes, and drunks who were being brought to Emerg. from our city’s mean streets. One wonders about all of the resources taken away from genuinely ill through-no-fault-of-their-own patients.”

    And thus the seed of healthcare rationing is planted. The single mother, abandoned by the father of her children, who can find nothing other than prostitution to get the money to feed her children, is somehow unworthy of care. The homeless Iraq vet, strung out on drugs and brought into ER from the street, is unworthy of care. The dirty bum, beaten and found on the side of the road and brought into ER, is unworthy of care. All because someone else is more deserving.

    I guess Luke 10:25-37 is one of those allegories that really doesn’t have any meaning in our modern time.