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arhyalon

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08:46 am: Boycotting Newsweek

Newsweek's headline this week read:  "The Case for Killing Granny: Why curbing excessive end-of-life care is good for America."

...Huh?  Bah???

Since when did it become anyone else's business what an older person does with their money? Since when did we put "national interests" before private life?

The Good of the Many outweighs the Good of the One...isn't that exactly what every Star Trek movie is against?



 

The answer, sadly, is: since we decided that private insurance companies deciding what they can and cannot cover isn't good enough.

This is why I have always been frightened by the idea of National Healthcare...not because I don't want everyone taken care of, I do! But because I don't trust the government--the guys who don't run a whole lot of others things correctly--to be the ones deciding who lives and who dies.

If we can decide not to support the medical needs of one group, why not another? Will we soon decide that people needing long-term medical care from their youth on also should not be supported? After all, they'll cost even more in the end, and it's the tax payers dollar.

What about Xtreme sports. People get hurt. Better not.

What about smoking. Leads to sickness, better outlaw it.

What about swimming pools. Children drown. Better have them all paved.

After all, it's the tax payer's dollar.


With a private system, there are cracks, but there isn't genocide.


I must take a moment here to explain that I, personally, am not in favor of extensive end-of-life care. Both as a Christian Scientist and as someone who has worked as a hospice volunteer, it is not something that I feel is a good idea...but I also don't think that gives me the right to tell other people what decisions they should make with their life.

Interestingly, the argument in the article is "We're spending $66.8 billion dollars in Medicare on the last two years of people's lives"...isn't that an argument against medicare, rather than an argument for National Health Care? 

Overall, it is a terribly difficult subject...all the harder for the kindhearted, like me, who really want everyone to do and be well...but when even before we have National Health Care, we're already talking about killing elderly and unborn children...that is frightening.
 



Comments

[User Picture]
From:juliet_winters
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
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Horrible.

And I believe the same philosophy holds that children born with conditions that will not let them be contributing members of the tax base should not be given extraordinary care to allow them to live.

Since when did we become Sparta?
[User Picture]
From:marycatelli
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
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You assume that the children who could become tax-payers would get it.

Listen to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's Health Policy Adviser.

"When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated."

"Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments. . . . It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does."
[User Picture]
From:jongibbs
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
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More than once during this ongoing healthcare debate, I've found myself thinking of Boxer, from Animal Farm - the loyal, hardworking horse who got sold off to the knackers yard as soon as he outlived his usefulness.

I'd assume the vast majority of people on medicare have (in some form or another) been paying into the system for upwards of forty years, why shouldn't they get the benefits?

In the UK, there's a lot of rationing. It's not even considered newsworthy if someone has to wait a year for a hip replacement. The optimist in me doesn't want to see it as a deliberate action, but there's no denying that a long delay means that many older patients die on the waiting lists for operations, which therefore saves the NHS money it doesn't have.

I don't know about you, but I think it's a shame there can't be a sensible discussion about the whole thing. For example, just because I don't want congress to pass the bill that's currently being proposed, doesn't mean I want poor people without health insurance to suffer.

Edited at 2009-09-18 02:22 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
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That's very nicely put.

It's one of the things that bothers me, too. The assumption that if you don't support this current idea it's because you want people to suffer.

If a person foresees more suffering rather than less coming from this, shouldn't they object?
[User Picture]
From:kokorognosis
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
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Me, personally, I'm a "Do not go gentle" type of guy, except in the case of brain death. Things can always change for the better. Heh, I guess we know where I stand in all of this.
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 18th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
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See...why should my choice have to affect your choice?

When the government is not involved, none of these issues need to be raised.
[User Picture]
From:marycatelli
Date:September 18th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Ah, but this is not the Good of Many vs. the Good of the One.

It's the Wants of the Many vs. the Rights of the One.

The one's bound to lose.
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 18th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
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But Kirk and Spock would still be against it.

I just want that on record. ;-)
[User Picture]
From:intheyear2004
Date:September 18th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
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"This is why I have always been frightened by the idea of National Healthcare...not because I don't want everyone taken care of, I do! But because I don't trust the government--the guys who don't run a whole lot of others things correctly--to be the ones deciding who lives and who dies."

Huh?! I don't get your argument. The British and other Nations who *do* have National Healthcare seem to fare quite well with it and - as far as I know - don't kill their elderly and other cost-intensive risk groups.

Isn't it so that at the moment in the US people who can't afford to pay privately for health care and cannot afford health care insurance either have to rely on charity and/or die of their illnesses anyway? So, I thought it would be a good idea to give those uninsured people a minimum of security?
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 18th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
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I have heard quite a few nightmarish reports from England...I would not want to live under a system like that!

Recently, however, I did hear some good things about the German system. Did you say you were in Germany? How do you like your system?
[User Picture]
From:ccr1138
Date:September 18th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
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It's a fallacy to consider health care a scarce resource that must be rationed. It's a fallacy to think that granny's consumption of extra care in her last few months is going to deny anyone else health care. There is plenty to go around, as long as people are allowed to allocate their health dollars where THEY want them to go. The whole scarcity model is simply another scare tactic.
[User Picture]
From:marycatelli
Date:September 19th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
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We also need the AMA to stop restricting doctors. For instance, persuading Congress to limit the number of residencies.
[User Picture]
From:ccr1138
Date:September 18th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
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I put this on John's LJ too, but here's my answer to Newsweek:

It's a fallacy that health care is a finite resource that must be rationed. Yes, the last months of an elderly person's life may be more expensive, but so what? The cost is still finite. As a percentage of the whole, these expenses are still not that great. My father-in-law is 81. He just went through expensive chemotherapy for lung cancer. Before the treatments, he was near death, and we visited thinking it would be the last time. Today he was declared cancer-free, and he is planning a trip to see his fellow WWII Marines next month. If it had been up to the people who advocate palliative care for old folks who, in their estimation, don't have long to live, he might be dead by now. Instead, we have every expectation he will continue to enjoy life well into his 90s, as most of his brothers and sisters did.

Health care isn't like oil. It's more like Doritos. Consume all you want, we'll make more! If the free market is allowed to work properly, rising demand will result in a greater supply. If instead, governments continue to hamper the free market, rising demand will continue to result in rising prices. If an elderly person needs expensive care, that doesn't mean there's less available for me -- at least it shouldn't. Government has created artificial scarcity by a variety of means. True reform will remove these barriers.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 19th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)

Better to think before you post:

(Link)
"This is why I have always been frightened by the idea of National Healthcare...not because I don't want everyone taken care of, I do! But because I don't trust the government--the guys who don't run a whole lot of others things correctly--to be the ones deciding who lives and who dies.

If we can decide not to support the medical needs of one group, why not another? Will we soon decide that people needing long-term medical care from their youth on also should not be supported? After all, they'll cost even more in the end, and it's the tax payers dollar.

What about Xtreme sports. People get hurt. Better not.

What about smoking. Leads to sickness, better outlaw it.

What about swimming pools. Children drown. Better have them all paved.

After all, it's the tax payer's dollar.


With a private system, there are cracks, but there isn't genocide. "


Yes, but before you posted all that paranoid nonsense, did you bother to take a look at any countries with Nationalised healthcare and see if they do any of that?

Well clearly not, because none of them do. In fact that's all in your head.

Take the NHS for example, two members of my family have chronic conditions and have for most of their lives. They still get treatment.

I smoke. That's still legal. I also surf, skate and play rugby... I don't see my healthcare being taken away yet.

Frankly that part of your post is paranoid, provincial and ignorant.
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 19th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)

Re: Better to think before you post:

(Link)
I am looking at history back more than the last few years.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 20th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
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As far as i know nobody but extreemists are trying to kill of grannies in my country which has socialised healthcare.
Also most states have stricter Abortion laws than America. where i live Abortion is still illegal if it isn't for the physical or mental health of the mother. Most abortions are done in private clinics.

[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:September 21st, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
(Link)
But we are discussing healthcare in America which is:

A) much larger than most countries with socialized heathcare and thus suffers from economies of scale.

B) Has America's problems.

I have heard some very good reports about some foreign health care programs...and some really bad reports about others. So far as I can tell, each country is different. Some really feel their system is working for them. Some don't. I feel each one has to be examined indipendantly.

My concern was about the particular line of reasoning of Americans involved with the debate. That is not a comment on other countries, especially countries who are not following this line of reasoning.

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