About Those Death Panels

As we’ve noted in this space in the past – while no health insurance provider has a room with the words “Death Panel” on an embossed brass plate on the door, the notion of allocation of services, including life-saving ones, to make sure scarce supplies of life-extending medicine and treatment go to the people who’ll gain the most usable lifespan, has been around for a long time.  It’s an integral part of the HMO business model.

In other words, if they’ve got one liver available, and one person on the transplant list is a 32 year old marathon-running woman who’s never smoked, and one is a 62 year old diabetic smoker, you can guess who’s going to get the liver, and who’s going on “palliative care” right?

And while that decision may not be made by people whose job title says “Death Panelist”, if you’re the 62 year old diabetic, it’s all tomayto tomahto, right?

Anyway – to those who thought calling the above the equivalent of a “death panel’ was overreach, I present this:

About one-year ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s assisted-suicide bill into law. It fully went into effect this June, with the opening of the first clinic. While there is no data on the number of California assisted-suicides, Oregon recorded over 130 last year as part of their legalized physician-assisted death program.

Now, one young mother says her insurance company denied her coverage for chemotherapy treatment after originally agreeing to provide the fiscal support for it, but indicated it would be willing to pay for assisted suicide instead.

No, it’s not just one woman:

Packer attends meetings with others suffering from terminal illnesses. She indicates that the tone of those meetings have changed since the California assisted-suicide law was enacted.

“As soon as this law was passed – and you see it everywhere, when these laws are passed – patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option.”

Packer attends a support group for terminally ill patients. She said legally sanctioned suicide has changed the tone of the meetings, which used to be “positive and encouraging.” With patients under new societal pressure to kill themselves, she said meetings “became negative, and it started consuming people. And then they said, ‘You know what? I wish I could just end it.’”

There’s a website for patients concerned that insurance companies under price pressure  are trying to strongarm them into killing themeselves.

Yep.  It’s come to this.

So – you can’t keep your doctor, or the plan you like, your prices are going to rise, and if your life is inconveniently expensive for your insurer, it will try to kill you.

Thanks, Obama.

11 thoughts on “About Those Death Panels

  1. We could argue that the liver will go to the person who is more liberal, no? Sorry to be so cynical, but at a certain point it will probably become true. And this is yet more evidence of how “liberal” too often means “person who can not envision forseeable consequences of actions.”

  2. More likely there’s be a room full of livers and only $20,000 left in the budget. One person gets a liver and the rest of the livers go to waste.

    20 years later everyone forgets there was a time when people got new livers.

  3. Itd be sweet justice if someday the people who promised there wouldnt be death panels would have their fate decided by one.

  4. Really, the whole deal reminds me a lot of something I noted to leftists during the Terri Schiavo debacle in 2005; there are reasons you don’t want the heirs, or other financially responsible parties, making the decision to pull the plug. Oddly, none of them seemed to clue in why they wouldn’t want this to happen–the cynical side of me wondered whether they were planning a Michael Schiavo event for their parents or something.

  5. When I was a kid, in the 1960s, you would occasionally see another kid who looked a little odd. Our parents told us they were called “mongoloids”, because of the shape of their eyes.
    Then, in the 70s and early 80s, instead of “mongoloids”, we started calling them “downs syndrome babies”, which was supposed to be a kinder name for them.
    Then in the late 80s you stopped seeing them at all. They were aborted before they were born. Now I wonder about the change from “mongoloid” to “downs syndrome babies” and I wonder just how that came about. “Mongoloid” describes a type of person. “Downs syndrome” describes a disease.

  6. I think the transition to “Down’s” was because “Mongoloid” is also an anthropological term referring to many of the peoples of Asia, and when people of that description started coming to U.S. medical schools and such, they not surprisingly objected to the dual usage.

    I periodically see Down’s kids at “fundagelical” churches, especially at homeschool gatherings, yet today. Very occasionally elsewhere, but you’re right that most of the population just aborts them. Very sad.

  7. The population of Iceland is a little less than the population of Minneapolis. They regularly have disputes with the Brits over Icelandic fisheries. I’m not saying that the US navy is going to go to war against the Brits over Icelandic fishing rights, but Iceland is a small country much more dependent on international norms, as enforced by the US, than is Ecuador.
    Iceland is a NATO country. Ecuador is not.

  8. You are probably sick of me saying this, but “Intended Consequence”. Oh, who are we kidding, not probably but definitely, alas ’tis true.

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