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Time To Go, Grampa

buchanan11With "controlling costs" a primary goal of Obamacare, and half of all medical costs coming in the last six months of life, "rationed care" takes on a new meaning for us all.

London's Telegraph reported Sunday that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, known by its Orwellian acronym NICE, intends to slash by 95 percent the number of steroid injections, such as cortisone, given to people who suffer severe and chronic back pain.

"Specialists fear," said the Telegraph, "tens of thousands of people, mainly the elderly and frail, will be left to suffer excruciating levels of pain or pay as much as 500 pounds each for private treatment."

Now, twin this story with the weekend Washington Post story about Obamacare's "proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical treatment they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills," and there is little doubt as to what is coming.

The Post portrayed the controversy as stoked by "right-leaning radio" using explosive language like "guiding you in how to die" and government plans to "kill Granny." Yet, is not the logical purpose of paying doctors for house calls to the terminally ill, whose medical costs are killing Medicare, to suggest a pleasant and early exit from a pain-filled and costly life?

Let us suppose the NICE plan in Britain is adopted. And an 80-year-woman, living alone, with excruciating persistent back pain, is visited by a physician-counselor. What is he likely to advise? What conclusion would Grandma be led to by a doctor who sweetly explains what treatment she may still receive, what is being cut off, and what her other options might be?

What other options are there?

Examples of how to "die with dignity" are at hand.

Three weeks ago, Sir Edward Downes, the world-renowned British orchestra leader, who was going blind and deaf, and his wife of 54 years, who had terminal cancer, ended their lives at a Zurich clinic run by the assisted suicide group Dignitas. They drank a small amount of liquid and died hand in hand, their adult children by their side.

This is the way of de-Christianized Europe. For years, doctors have assisted the terminally ill in ending their lives. Indeed, it has been reported that indigent, sick and elderly patients who could not make the decision for themselves had it made for them.

In America, we have a Death with Dignity Act in Oregon and such suicide counselors as the Hemlock Society, which itself took the cup in 2003. Now we have Compassion & Choices, which counsels the elderly sick on a swift and painless end. Before he took to ending the lives of patients who were not terminal, but sick and depressed, Dr. Kevorkian had his admirers. Not infrequently, one reads of nursing homes where the infirm and elderly have been put to death.

Beneath this controversy lie conflicting concepts about life.

To traditional Christians, God is the author of life and innocent life, be it of the unborn or terminally ill, may not be taken. Heroic means to keep the dying alive are not necessary, but to advance a natural death by assisting a suicide or euthanasia is a violation of the God's commandment, Thou shalt not kill.

To secularists and atheists who believe life begins and ends here, however, the woman alone decides whether her unborn child lives, and the terminally ill and elderly, and those closest to them, have the final say as to when their lives shall end. As it would be cruel to let one's cat or dog spend its last months or weeks in terrible pain, they argue, why would one allow one's parents to endure such agony?

In the early 20th century, with the influence of Social Darwinism, the utilitarian concept that not all life is worth living or preserving prevailed. In Virginia and other states, sterilization laws were upheld by the Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said famously, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

In Weimar Germany, two professors published "The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life," which advocated assisted suicide for the terminally ill and "empty shells of human beings." Hitler's Third Reich, marrying Social Darwinism to Aryan racial supremacy, carried the concepts to their logical if horrible conclusion.

Revulsion to Nazism led to revival of the Christian ideal of the sanctity of all human life and the moral obligation of all to defend it. But the utilitarian idea — of the quality of life trumping the faith-based idea of the sanctity of life — has made a strong comeback.

And the logic remains inexorable. If government intends to "bend the curve" of rising health care costs, and half of those costs are incurred in the last six months of life, and physician-counselors will be sent to the seriously ill to advise them of what costs will no longer be covered, and what their options are — what do you think is going to be Option A?

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.


2 Responses »


    Even a RINO or two will not matter. This is the bill to illustrate the arrogance of the Democrats to the American people. Here's a bill with 31% acceptance by the population, and the Dems are hell-bent on passing it. Why? Because Harry Reid, (who is strangely absent from this debate. Why? Because he's having trouble getting re-elected!) and Nanny Pelosi are more important to this group than their constituents back home! This vote will illustrate that those who support it are more interested in parties, politics, and pats on the back by those more arrogant; than they are in representing those who sent them to Washington in the first place. Can anyone say "narcissism"?

    While we can't call out a politicians name and stab a a table with a steak knife proclaiming "you're dead!" as Rahm Emanuel did after the re-election of Bill Clinton, we can say: ~ANYONE WHO VOTES FOR THIS BILL SIMUTANIOUSLY SIGNS HIS OWN TERMINATION PAPERS!"~. No repreives for bring home the bacon just before the next election, no excuses about "I had to vote for that, to get this", just kick the bums out. . . America will not stand for socialism.



    Believe it!

  2. I've recently heard that the Democrat Party has initiated Union workers asa Security Force during their Townhall Meetings. My understanding isa this has been announced to intimidate the opposition to the current Health Care Initiative.

    When I heard this, my first reaction was to equate this with the Rolling Stones hiring the Hells Angels debacle in 1969. Seems the Stones hired the motorcylce club to perform security tasks ecurity tasks during the concert at Altamont Speedway, in Livermore, California.

    There were many acts of violence, and a murder at this event. I wonder if thats the idea Democrats want to convey to the public. It seems their mentality is "shut up, or we wont be responsible for the accidents that befall you within the next 2-48 hours.

    If Democrats were truly concerned for their safety, they would require Security guards, or local police support. But this avenue evidences other motives. This is despicable, it connotes thugerry (sans Philadelphia precinct workers) and tyranny in the making. All Democrats are to either repudiate this action, or leave their party to distance themselves from this abomanation on Liberty. To do otherwise should cause the Republican Party to actively attempt to recruit those Democrats who are repulsed (anyone with a modicum of patriotism will be) by politicians blatantly threateneing those who disagree with them.

    It is reasonable to conclude that the Democrat Party has revealed itself as totalitarian, anti-Constitutional, and have become, by definition: "enemies domestic".

    I wonder if the union thugs are getting paid with beer. . .