Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama's Death Panels Under the Bus

The big idea behind President Obama's health reform plan is bring everyone within a single system so that the government can start to ration care. That's the only way that our liberal friends believe that they can deal with the Medicare unfunded liability.

So the central initiative is to take a whack at Medicare costs through the now notorious "death panels" that would make decisions about end-of-life care. The idea made perfect bureaucratic sense to all the liberal policy analysts and health care experts.

And it does make sense, in a rational, mechanical way.

Older people are less productive and less likely to benefit from medical care. A hip replacement for a healthy 50-year-old can return a person to work. A hip replacement for a vigorous 80-year-old can restore mobility for ten years. But a hip replacement in a frail 90-year-old isn't likely to be so successful. Chances are that granny will be too weak to walk again.

That's what "comparative effectiveness research" is all about. It is an expertise that enables government health bureaucrats to make rational decisions about expenditures for medical procedures paid for by the government.

It just shows how far our liberal friends are out of touch.

The reason we call it health care is that health care is about caring. We do healh care because it shows we care.

Well, men may not care very much, but women do care. And women go on caring when all hope is gone. They just do.

So when the government proposes to replace the caring that daughters do for their mothers--which echoes the caring their mothers did for them--with a rational system of bureaucratic triage, ordinary people, and particularly ordinary women, object.

Triage, let us not forget, is the rational procedures that armies use to dispose of the wounded. There are those that will get better without any care--so no care for them. There are those who will die whatever medical care is provided--so no care for them. Then there are those that might respond to medical care. Those are the chaps who get care. It's a sensible rational system--for armies.

But for grandma? That's why, in my view, liberals are in deeper trouble with the American people than they can possibly know.

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