End of Life Kills Obamacare?

Connie Hair

By Connie Hair

Democrats have spent the past two weeks trying to convince elderly American voters that only right-wing whackos could believe that Obamacare will lead to rationed healthcare or “death counseling” to convince those over 65 that they should help cut health care costs by, well, dying.

Section 1233 of H.R. 3200, the House bill that facilitates … a government takeover of America’s health care system, has recently come under fire for including so-called “end of life” counseling in a “cost cutting” measure.  The Senate has pulled the language from their latest version of the bill. (Stay tuned: there’s as many new versions every day as aircraft taking off from Reagan National Airport.)

Are these fears real?  Perhaps the answer can be garnered from the past activities of the key drafters of the House Obamacare bills.

One of the drafters is Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) an enthusiastic supporter of “voluntary” euthanasia and has claimed authorship of the offending section of the bill while trying to assure everyone it’s not about euthanasia.  Blumenauer wrote on July 28th in the Huffington Post, “Actually, I know a little bit about [Section 1233] because it’s a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation.”

Blumenauer passionately supports the Oregon state law that legalizes euthanasia.  In 2005, he filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon defending the “assisted suicide” law.

Blumenauer appears to take his public support of euthanasia a step further.  Linked on his http://www.earlblumenauer.com website is a ghastly 1960s Harper’s Magazine (pdf) special supplemental entitled “The Crisis in American Medicine”(pdf) which promotes euthanasia — both voluntary and involuntary.

In this 1960s article, page 42 of the section entitled “Right to Die” the author laments that proponents of euthanasia have “wanted to restrict both direct and indirect euthanasia to voluntary situations where the patient has consented.  Such a concept is applicable to people — of whom there are many — who have private understandings with doctor friends and with their families in anticipation of the end.  But what of the patient who has never stated his wishes and is past making a mentally competent choice?”

This section of the supplemental goes on to make an argument for leaving the choice to euthanize a patient in the hands of the doctor, as long as the doctor isn’t too attached to the Hippocratic Oath.

“This is probably the wisest policy provided the doctors do not take a rigid or idolatrous view of their role as ‘life’ savers,” the article states.

There is much, much more at this link.  Of all of the material written throughout the history of mankind, Blumenauer chooses to provide access to this material advocating euthanasia on his website.

Don’t you feel much more reassured about Section 1233 now?

Blumenauer’s not the only Dr. Death devotee claiming to have had input and influence over this grossly objectionable section of the House health care bill.  A group called Compassion & Choices claims to have “worked tirelessly with supportive members of Congress to include in proposed reform legislation a provision requiring Medicare to cover patient consultation with their doctors about end-of-life choice (section 1233 of House Bill 3200).”

You may be more familiar with this organization’s name prior to 2005:  the Hemlock Society.

Fervent advocates of the culture of death in America are proudly claiming part in structuring Section 1233 of the House bill.  This should give everyone who values life pause to question why this was included at all in a bill that is supposed to be designed to cut health care costs.

Hat tip to Jill Stanek and the Family Research Council.

Death Panels and Health Care Rationing

What has been noticeably missing from the health care bill “Death Panel” uproar is the fact that there is another section of the House health care bill devoted to instituting and funding comparative effectiveness research boards, panels and studies that will decide, based on your age, whether or not you will be allocated life saving measures under government run health care.

Forget the “end of life” counseling for a moment. This is real rationing that will cut off healthcare for the elderly whose life expectancy — determined by bureaucrats — is too short to justify treatment of a serious medical condition.

In H.R. 3200, page 501, Section 1401, you will find the authorization for the Center for Comparative Effectiveness.  The bill does not guarantee that these studies will not be used to ration health care.  All amendments offered by Republicans that would have barred comparative effectiveness research from being used by the government to ration health care were defeated by Democrats in committee.  All of them.

Bureaucrats will decide whether your life is worth the taxpayer money it will cost for you to have pacemaker surgery or whether instead you should just be prescribed pain pills.  Obama’s now infamous and rare unscripted moment from his first health care town hall meeting earlier this year:

“Look, the first thing for all of us to understand that is we actually have some — some choices to make about how we want to deal with our own end-of-life care… we as a culture and as a society [can start] to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves… at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

Is the President saying there is some sort of new pain pill that restores proper heart function?  Or is he saying that under government run health care, at grandma’s age, the surgical implantation of a pacemaker is just too expensive for taxpayers to foot the bill?  According to the President, “we let doctors know” that grandma doesn’t get a pacemaker.  Who’s this “we”?

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) makes health care rationing decisions for all British subjects.  These NICE people calculate your Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) measurement  for you.  Your QALY uses your age as the baseline for how much taxpayer money is spent by the government on your illness before they cut you off, or if you are just flat out refused any sort of medical treatment outright because of your age.

All nice, neat, cold and clean.  It’s not personal.  It’s government run health care.   Grandma is simply thrown under the bus by a Death Panel because she’s too expensive.  Take a pain pill.

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