Monday, August 24, 2009

Death Panels by Another Name Would Smell the Same (Oregon)

There has been a lot of talk about whether "Death Panels" are a part of the proposed massive health care bill. Sarah Palin made news by saying:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Many main stream news sources went out of their way to rescue President Obama and prove that the massive piece of legislation contained no such thing. The President himself has said it was "offensive" to him to suggest that there were Death Panels.

They were right. Nowhere in the legislation does it state "Death Panel."

But a recent story in the Detroit Free Press reports that Palin wasn't all that far off. According to the Free Press:

President Obama has proposed a new body that would enhance Medicare’s ability to deny care to the elderly and disabled based on government bureaucrats’ arbitrary valuations of those patients’ lives.

Say what?

So if this bill ever passes, what would an arbitrary valuation by a government look like?

Let's look at the state of Oregon, Pajamas Media reports that the Oregon Health Services Commission headquarters have come up with a master list of 503 treatments and conditions their “public option” will cover for its enrollees. They have ranked them in ascending order of priority. Should the state ever run out of money or determine that its budget would not allow for a procedure, then top ranked procedures would get priority.

Toward the bottom of the list in priority:
Emergency appendectomy (prioritized 84th)
Covering injuries to major blood vessels (86th),
Surgery to repair injured internal organs (88),
A “deep wound to the neck”
or open fracture of the larynx or trachea (91),
A ruptured aortic aneurysm (306).

Also of note is the fact that treatments for esophageal, liver, and pancreatic cancers take up priority slots 337 through 339, with treatment for stroke at 340

Samples of higher ranked (more important)maladies are:
Obesity (8)
Depression (9)
Asthma (11)
“Tobacco dependence” (6th)
Reproductive services are 7th
HIV 15
Syphilis is 19

As some of you long time readers remember, I underwent an aortic heart valve replacement last year that required open heart surgery. This ranks 116 on the list. Better than cancer, but way behind syphilis

After this bill is voted upon and passed, the Government then is free to "interpret" the bill and we end up with something that sets a valuation on your life. Why, they could even decide to save a little money based upon you terminal status.

Couldn't happen you say? Vast right wing conspiracy lies?

Here is story of how one woman went up against the Oregon State run health care program:

Essentially, it costs less produce suicide pills than to give a dying patient pills that may extend her life a bit longer. SO the State decided she wasn't important enough to live. Besides, I'm sure the 18 - 35 voter group will be pleased.

So no, Virginia, there is no Death Panel. What there is may be worse.

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