Given how much our friends on the left love the Hollywood crowd, it should be no surprise that they would adopt one of their favorite tools, the sequel. This weekend we see the Obama Administration beginning to implement by way of administrative action that which they failed to achieve by legislative. Over the Christmas holiday while the President had left Washington to join his family in Hawaii, the New York Times Reported (December 25, 2010) that Medicare would enact a regulation, effective January 1st 2011 that would provide for “end of life planning”. This is the concept that they attempted to include in the health care reform act last year which, after being dubbed “Death Panels” became the sing most controversial portion of the debate and which in the end had no support at all in congress, at least publically. So now the President will put into place through the back door that which he failed to get through the front.
Like so much the left proposes, End of Life Counseling has a very reasonable sound. The idea that an individual should discuss their wishes in advance with their physician and with their next of Kin is a very reasonable and indeed needed event. Less than a month ago my mother passed away and I found myself in the position of having to make certain decisions about what treatments she should be subjected to at the point where the chances of recovery were slim. Fortunately she and I had discussed her wished on a number of occasions and she has prepared a medical power of attorney which clearly assigned the responsibility to me. The doctor and I discussed her situation and the only other person I consulted was my wife, a Respiratory Therapist. No amount of preparation can prepare you for that moment, but in the end it was a family choice made with her physician. I can think of no other situation, with the possible exception of the bedroom where the state has no role to play. Well apparently Barak Obama thinks the government has some good advice.
So why does the left want to get involved with end of life issues so bad? The answer is very basic; cutting spending on end of life care is the pot of gold that they need to fund their dream of socialized medicine for all. Additionally it is characteristic of the intellectual left’s view that the bureaucratic brain trusts they establish know better than the individuals whose lives they seek to intrude upon. They reason that the money spent on the last days of life can be better spent on their other pet projects. So they will begin to prepare guidelines as to how families should be counseled. However, the complication with end of life decisions is that rarely is it totally clear that you are at the end of a life. Yes, in some cased it may be obvious, or the use of “extraordinary measures” counter to the individuals wishes that a choice may be clear. But in most cases it is a much more complex decision, with multiple factors to consider and uncertain outcomes. It is not obvious in advance that death is indeed near. This is where the family and the doctors directly involved with the case of the loved one are the only relevant decision makes. I can think of no more clear decision where government adds nothing to the situation, of insurance companies for that matter. On this I believe the vast majority of the American people agree, decisions on end of life health care are to be between the patient, their families and their doctors.
The next step in this process for the left are to “simplify choice’ by limiting the treatment options for the soon to be dead. With this decision we have begun yet another step in the establishment of a dominate role for the state in health care decisions. The goal of the left, for the most part unstated, is to have decisions regarding health care made by those obviously more able to make good decisions, the government bureaucrats who are familiar with the issues. If those apparatchiks simply can make the populace understand the issues, there is no doubt they will agree. That was the Democrats entire logic regarding Health Care Reform: If we pass it they will ultimately agree. We see the same intellectual arrogance with this policy taking effect this week. Yet as the New York Times points out, the left are advising their supporters not to publically celebrate this “victory”, lest the American people react to it, before realizing the wisdom of the administration.
No other single action of the Obama administration had as much effect on the outcome of the November 2 election as Heath Care Reform. The president would do best to listen to the American People and work with the Republicans to Reform the Reform of Health Care. If that does not happen, the GOP must act to stop this administrative action. The only tools that can have this affect is to explicitly prohibit the expenditure of ANY funds for any measure not expressly approved by congress. If the president prevents such controls by way of veto, they Republicans must defund the bureaucrats plotting these intrusions. If we allow this form of intrusive creep into the private decisions of the American people, it is almost inevitable that we will end up with a socialist health care system as our friends in Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union now have. Once we get to that point, reversing course will be almost imposable, a fact the left seems to be counting on now they cannot win the debate directly with the American people. This quite literally is a fight over life and death.