Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forsake me not when my strength is spent

Congress is about to pass a Stimulus Bill containing much besides stimulus [and probably not much of that]. Among its provisions, apparently, are policies that will affect the health care of older Americans. The policies will lead to the rationing of treatment following the prescription of President Obama's once intended Secretary of Health and Human Services:
.... The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council.

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. ....

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.” [more]
Older Americans should have the ability to decide whether to accept medical care or not. But pressure to end life and get out of the way from friends or family, much less the government, is morally abhorrent. Dashle's proposals would permit the government to decide whether or not treatment would be given.

If you're old and sick, hurry up and die — you cost too much.

Of course Dashle and his ilk - as well as those who will be making the decisions - are usually prosperous enough to be exempt from such calculations.

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long
in the land that the LORD your God is giving you." [Ex 20:12] Opinion


  1. This is deplorable. I hadn't heard about these provisions (for reasons which seem obvious now), but it sounds like de facto state mandated and legislated euthanasia on the basis of age proportionate to cost.

  2. This is deplorable. The solution to the health problems in this country is state mandated and legislated involuntary euthanasia for the aged? Some "right to choose" life. You hit it Jim--"morally abhorrent."


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