Posted by Brian
Part of the debate leading up to the passage of ObamaCare was the accusation that socialized health care would lead to "death panels". Predictably, those on the left were apoplectic about the charge, ridiculing the very thought that "civilized" people would ever have a thought like that cross our minds. That conservatives would even bring it up was proof-positive of the sickness of the conservative mind, and the lengths we would go to scare people about the dangers of a massive new bureaucracy overseeing the nation's health care system.
Not so fast!
A little over three years later, the Associated Press is reporting that there IS a debate within the medical and political community of whether it is more cost effective to withhold treatment for those who they judge have unhealthy living habits - smokers and the overweight - and just let them die.
If a group of bureaucrats, politicians, or even doctors are sitting around a table determining whether another person has the right to medical care, or whether they should just "let them die", couldn't that be defined as, dare I say it, a "Death Panel"?
Of course, those making the charge that ObamaCare would lead to death panels were publicly excoriated, Sarah Palin most notably, with liberal pundits (and some "conservatives") ridiculing those who dared to expose this "unintended consequence" as jumping the proverbial shark.
But, a funny thing has happened along the way: First, Obama's choice of Donald Berwick to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services, which oversees the ObamaCare program, is outspokenly in favor of care rationing as a means to hold down costs. In other words, let people die if it costs too much. Like all leftists, Berwick sees no contradiction in his belief that health care is a "right" on one hand, and a massive bureaucracy determining who is denied that "right" based on a cost formula, on the other.
Now we are being told that the debate of who gets treatment and gets to live, and who has treatment withheld and dies, based on the decisions of "leaders", is alive and well. The AP article only addresses smokers and those who are overweight, but rest assured, those will only be starting points. The elderly and those deemed defective or unproductive, such as those with Down Syndrome, permanently disabled, or other mental and physical conditions will be at the mercy of a cost-cutting panel. The litmus test will be: "Are they worth the cost"? Sounds far-fetched? Britain's HHS, which Berwick loves, actually puts a dollar amount on how much each year of life is worth (about $44K)! HHS says this is a general rule, and has "sometimes approved treatment" over $70K. This may be so, but it is a council, nee 'death panel', making the determination, not the doctor and his or her patient.
Who wants to wager that some are more equal than others in determining who gets certain expensive treatments and who doesn't?