Monday, August 10, 2009

Palin’s "Death Panels" Are Already Here

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin made some comments on Friday that seem to have gotten the pro-death healthcare reform side in a bit of a dither.

Here’s what Palin said:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Apparently the pro-healthcare reform lobby took exception to Palin’s assertion of a “death panel.”

Now, I’m not sure what else you call proposals for government apparatchiks to monitor and control the treatments doctors hand out, and who may well refuse to allow doctors to use some treatments, thereby resulting in the death of some of their patients.

But, as much as I think Palin’s comments are right on the money, let’s remember that we already have such death panels operating in hospitals all over the country.

And we’ve had them for quite a while.

Exhibit A: Texas.

When former President George W. Bush was Governor of Texas, he signed into law the Texas Advance Directives Act of 1999, the provisions of which allow exactly what Palin suggested – a panel that decides if some patients should die.

Here’s what the law allows: Any hospital can, legally, give notice that it is stopping all patient treatment 10 days after the decision has been conveyed to the patient’s loved ones.

The reason for stopping treatment? The hospital has decided that any more care is considered futile. That is, any more care is essentially useless and wasteful, because the patient will never get better.

This decision is made exclusively by the hospital panel. Loved ones have no say in how this is decided.

Not a word.

This decision can be made even if the family is able and willing to pay for all care themselves, and the law overrides any advance directives the patient may have had, saying, for example, that all treatment should be continued until death.

Utilitarian? As Palin might say, you betcha!!

The logic’s pretty simple, actually:

You’re not getting healthier; it’s a waste of money to spend any more treatment on you. We will use those expensive treatments on people who will have a better chance of getting better.

In other words, hurry up and die.

That’s what happened in the fight to keep treatment going to poor Emilio Gonzales in 2007, and to many others like him across the country.

In the interests of fairness, of course, loved ones, once informed of the hospital’s decision, may then “appeal.” That means hiring lawyers to get a court injunction to delay the end of treatment.

Yes, folks, in Texas you will need to hire a lawyer to prevent the hospital from killing your loved one.

If this isn’t a version of a “death panel,” I don’t know what is.


Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I have often said that the Texas law is a framework for the routine disposal of the elderly, disabled and vulnerable. The dam has been breached and Obama's plan will be the force which will sweep it away.

Virginia Beach said...

Jerri, thanks so much for your contribution and steadfast care for vulnerable people. Keep up the good work!!