Remember the good old days when the Affordable Care Act was being debated and President Obama was talking about how Grandma might not get that pacemaker or that expensive surgery because she’s too old?  Maybe we’ll just give her a pill instead?  And when opponents of the bill claimed that it would lead to “death panels” that would decide if  it was financially expedient to give a patient expensive treatments if they were near the end of their life?  And how those people were mocked as kooky paranoids?  Me too…good times, good times.  Anyhoo…in order to muster the votes to pass the bill (it passed by the barest margin with no republican votes – remember that the next time someone tells you there’s no difference between R’s and D’s) the “end of life counseling” provisions were removed.  But the dream lives on!  In the Politico article “Let’s Talk about ‘Death Panels’ – It’s Time To Revisit a Good Idea That Was Distorted By Demagoguery” Harold Pollack argues with what I’m sure are the noblest of intentions (eyeroll) that Sarah Palin and some other stupid heads ruined this “good” idea with all their kooky paranoid talk about how it would evolve into healthcare rationing and some people, i.e. the disabled or elderly wouldn’t be allowed treatments just to save money.  Like they do in Great Britain at the NHS.

Pollack blames Palin and other right wing ideologues for making this an issue, but it was none other than President Obama himself during what seemed like countless townhall meetings to sell the plan to the public, while making all kinds of promises would not promise that elderly Americans could receive all the treatments they want because “it might be cheaper to give them a pill”.  He also promised that if you liked your doctor or your health plan you could keep your doctor or your health plan.  We know how that worked out…the 2013 Lie Of The Year.  So you’ll excuse me if I’m skeptical that you won’t pull the plug on me or my loved one to save some money.

obamacare cartoon


Of course, the bigger scandal is that we’re having this discussion at all because the federal government is now involved in healthcare decsions that should be between you and your doctor.  But I digress…

Part of the issue is federal compensation to doctors for “end of life counseling”, which isn’t allowed under The Act.  However, I’m pretty sure everyone gets end of life couseling as a routine part of their treatment without a specific “end of life counseling appointment”. I have been involved in the end of life care for  family members and this has been the case every time.  The Act doesn’t prohibit communication with your doctor or limit what can be discussed.

After reading through all the romanticized anecdotes in Pollack’s article about dying with dignity and hospice, and how Americans with the most reason to worry about death panels are among the most vocal supporters of “Health Care Reform”, the conclusion is this – saving money isn’t the goal, it’s just a happy coincidence.  And as far as the end of life counseling goes, in my opinion the goal is to open the door to assisted suicide.  We’ll make you your own death panel – the Government didn’t pull your plug!  You did!  That’s even cheaper!  Your Welcome!

Hat Tip:  Mickey Kaus at the Daily Caller