I have to hand it to Sarah Palin, the Republican Leadership, and all the lobbyist for the Health Care industry... Absolutely brilliantly played!!
2 weeks ago, Sarah Palin comes out with a ridiculous statement about the Obama Death Panels.
When examining the bill, it would appear that her comment actually comes from two, very separate parts of the bill.
1. The new bill now allows reimbursement of expenses which may be incurred for a meeting between the doctor and a patient, and/or the patients family, related to end of life care. Not euthanasia or anything like that, but things like hospice care, nursing home care and how to set up a living will.
2. The new bill also addresses the need to medical care to be rationed.
The first one is pretty easy to understand. It's something which previously has not be reimbursable, and which I think would be very valuable indeed. When I get to the point where loved ones are needing significant nursing care, or facing a battle against terminal illness, I would like competent advise on how best to care for them and keep them most comfortable and well cared for.
The second one is a little more tricky.
First a personal experience... I used to be part of an Emergency Rescue Unit in New Zealand. Part of the training I went through was on how to deal with mass casualties. Here's the scenario... You come to a natural disaster or a multi car wreck. You are alone, or have minimal volunteers with you and are facing significantly more casualties than you can handle. How do you decide who to treat first? As I recall, we spend the better part of 4 hours discussing it. You need to evaluate likelihood of survival - can this person realistically be expected to pull through. Quality of life if they do survive, and many more possible scenarios. It was one of the hardest pieces of training to go through, and one I still think about it. In many ways, it's trying to decide, who can you best help to live, but at the same time, who are you going to have to allow to die.
Second, an article from the Salt Lake Tribune last week, about health-care rationing. Read it here.
The problem we face, is as we strive to make health care more accessible, by more people, decisions need to be made as to who most needs the help. I can understand why people would struggle with this idea, especially older people, who seemed to be the most outspoken about Ms. Palin's comments.
This posting isn't about rationing health care though...
After a huge kerfuffle was made about Palin's comments and how they exposed the evil of the new administration, good news came out right before the weekend. The senate committee responsible for this has scrapped the provisions from which arose Palin's 'Death Panel' allegations. You can read about that here
So basically, the rationing of health care, which might reasonably be expected to play a larger role in the life of Palin's parents or her handicapped son was completely ignored. Instead, we've managed to find a way to help our elderly people be less prepared for the future as they approach the end of their lives.
Score a win for the politicians and the health care industry, and a loss for our senior citizens!
And yet all the sheeple stand and say "Sieg Heil" to the quitting governor of Alaska.