Amy Sullivan has a remarkably deceptive piece on her blog in which she attempts to debunk this as a “myth:”
I’m very, very concerned about the elderly. I don’t know if this is also correct, but I understand that a federal health board will sit in judgment of medical procedures and protocols to impose guidelines on all providers — when to withhold certain types of care — like, what is the point you get to when we say, I’m sorry that this cannot happen.
Except for quibbling over the word “all,” the “myth” is of course true.
To control costs, any sensible health care reform needs to create a Federal Health Reserve which uses science (as opposed to politics) to determine what we spend our limited resources on. Should a patient be reimbursed for $50 worth of drugs if it keeps her alive another year? What if the cost is $500? $5000? $50,000? $500,000? $5,000,000?
The Federal Health Reserve would be the Life Panel. It would be the Death Panel.
In a real way, experts will control who lives and who dies.
This will mean that some people will be driven to euthanasia because the government will not pay for life-sustaining treatment. There is simple to demonstrate. Some life-sustaining treatments will not be given because technocrats who the patient never sees have determined that it is an inefficient use of funds. Euthanasia is already legal in several places. Therefore, some patients, given the choice between dying painfully from neglect and dying peacefully through euthanasia, will choose euthanasia.
The only alternative to a Death Panel is the Congress. That is, we can listen to those who trust politicians and have politicos decide whether $40,000 on chemotherapy is better spent than $40,000 on a new treatment. Of course, Congress will be driven by polls as opposed to medicine or science. The only alternative to a Death Panel is even worse than a Death Panel.
Now, this is only a nightmare if Obama gets his socialist Public Option through as part of reform. If the Public Option is created, it will never be allowed to fail. Its inefficiencies will take down the rest of the health insurance industry with it.
Create the Federal Health Reserve. Stop the Public Option.