Let’s back up for a minute. I noted some time ago Jay Rockefeller went on record to say that at some point the government has to decide whether or not you are allowed to receive any more medical benefits if the cost outweighs the potential benefits.
As Mickey Kaus has noted, both Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias are on record agreeing. Kaus writes:
Democratic blogger Ezra Klein appears to be positioning Dem health care reforms as a way to cut costs, on the grounds that a reformed system will be able to make “hard choices” and “rational” coverage decisions, by which Klein seems to mean “not providing” treatments that are unproven or too expensive–when “a person’s life, or health, is not worth the price.” Matthew Yglesias’ recent post seems to be saying the same thing, though clarity isn’t its strong suit.
Weirdo cum intellectual Peter Singer, a man who favors post-birth abortions of disabled children, took to the New York Times to write
You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?
If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man – and everyone else like him – with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed.
In his article, he argues that, in effect, we should euthanize the elderly.
I think, given that the member of Congress who drafted H.R. 3200 read and take seriously people like Klien, Yglesias, and Singer, we should be very troubled by Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. The section, titled “Advanced Care Planning Consultation” requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity.
The section requires that they talk to their doctor, not a lawyer, about living wills, durable healthcare powers of attorney, hospice, etc. Given the progressive intelligentsia already being on the record in favor of euthanizing the elderly, it is no small leap to see where the Democrats are headed with this.
Legally forcing senior citizens to have “death with dignity schedules every few years is just another way to say the government wants to make sure seniors know it is time to commit suicide to save the system money.
And saving any medical system through encouraged deaths of the elderly or unborn is not a medical system worth having. The Hippocratic Oath requires doctors to “do no harm.” That’s meant toward the patient, not the costs to the government.