Easing The ‘Death Panel’ Fear

 

Kathleen Parker

We do need to turn down the rhetorical heat lest we miss important issues in the proposed House health-care bill.

Unfortunately, Palin's more thoughtful comments followed a made-for-the-tabloids Facebook post suggesting that under President Obama's health-care reform, a "death panel" would kill her elderly parents and her Down syndrome baby.

Once upon a time, radical reformers could only dream of such helpful enemies. Now that the world is chasing hyperbole, we indeed risk overlooking troublesome language in the end-of-life section of the House health bill, a.k.a. Section 1233 of H.R. 3200.

For purposes of civil discourse, let's assume that no one wants to kill off old people. Just as airline pilots have a primary interest in safely landing planes, even Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama will be elderly someday.

 

Meanwhile, we all know that America's health-care system is in dire need of repair. We also know, though we're loath to admit, that we can't do all things for all people. Technology that enables us to prolong life far beyond what is natural or desirable also threatens to cripple us financially.

How do mere humans balance the immense powers of "can" against the humbling moral quandary of "should"? This is partly what the bill's end-of-life section aims to address.

Theoretically, rational people can dwell happily on the same page. Wouldn't we all rather make end-of-life provisions voluntarily, while we're still healthy, than burden family members, who would be reluctant (one hopes) to pull the plug on our darling selves?

Of course. In practice, however, the debate is over whether these consultations are conclusively voluntary — and the bill, to the extent it is comprehensible at all, is vague enough to cause concern.

For instance, the bill makes end-of-life consultations reimbursable under Medicare every five years but allows for more frequent Medicare-reimbursed sessions should a person's condition worsen. These consultations allow for the formulation of "an order regarding life-sustaining treatment."

We can all imagine a situation when we might not want any more life-sustaining treatments — when death is imminent, for example. But we can also imagine a scenario when, feeble and ill, we might be subtly urged to forgo further life-sustaining treatment out of consideration for others. Given that "actionable medical orders" can be formulated from advance care consultations, the danger is that life-sustaining care would be precluded based on a check-mark on a document you signed five years earlier.

It would be nice to think that everything goes as patients intend, but we can safely assume that when human error collides with bureaucratic efficiency, nightmarish enforcement scenarios could ensue. Likelihoods morph into certainties when, as this bill sets out, primary-care physicians aren't necessarily involved in the consultations. As proposed, a variety of health-care practitioners would do.

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38 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ken
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 17:37:00

    i'm still trying to figure out how you call yourself a conservative republican when all you do is tow the democratic party line.the goverment has no buisness saying anything about how and when people decide to die its none of their buisness…keep out..

    Reply

  2. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 17:41:00

    [R] Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said she was offended by Sarah Palin's continuous comments on this issue and many others.
    Why is media so interested in a half baked Alaskan? Besides the fact that Sarah has deep mental problems, she has no credibility or platform on this subject or really any other. She does not know her limitations or have a bit of humility. She's an embarrassment to Alaskan Republican Conservatives everytime she opens her ignorant mouth. I'm sick of this bunch of empty agitators and the arrogance on my side. Hey, you so called "the base" and those who you adulate, you're not adding to the political debate or offering solutions!

    Reply

  3. ken
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 17:45:00

    this has nothing to do with palin,that part of the healthcare bill is tellin america that the goverment is going to say when and how people are going to die should shake you to your foundation,when you throw in the changes he wants to make to abortions,you should start wondering what year this is 2009 or 1984.because its just that sick..

    Reply

  4. Inside_Passage
    Aug 21, 2009 @ 22:40:00

    Why is media so interested in a half baked Alaskan? Besides the fact
    that Sarah has deep mental problems, she has no credibility or platform
    on this subject or really any other. She does not know her limitations
    or have a bit of humility.Probably for the same reason the NYTimes was interested in you. It doesn't matter if you're crazy and have no credibility – shout any ramblings that coincide with their interestsloud enough and they'll pass it on whether it has any merit or not.

    Reply

  5. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 11:16:00

    Thanks for the comparison- But there is NONE…
    I have never lied to be elected to office or did I fail to complete a task competently that was contracted to me in good faith and money by voters. I have not placed myself as some kind of psuedo leader, policy maker, queen of the damned. I'm an educated American citizen who happens to live in Wasilla, Alaska. I'm active in my beliefs and secure in my understanding of issues that are important to me. This is not new for me, to hold Palin's actions and words accountable- I was there to recall and rail against Sarah as mayor. Why? Because she was found to be corrupt and unethical in her behavior. That rotten fruit eventually starts to stink, doesn't it? She than, as now has no sense of honor, ability or retraint. Crazy? Maybe, I chose to take on the most ill prepared and unethical person in my state's political history. That can be considered as crazy….. However, I have plenty of credibility and a paper trail and radio program that has documented this adjunk politician's rise to the highest level of incompetence and corruption. Do your research! Being sought out by media to give my comments is proof that all opinions are welcome by main stream media. My comments are 180 degrees from those who are suppose to be representing me. That's an interesting paradox to media and progressives. That holds more merit in truth than a whiny, worshipping sycophant with no content. I'll be around as long as Sarah 'whack job' Palin continues to perpetuate herself as a Conservative or competent. As it was in the beginning and will continue to the end of time….Sarah Heath Palin has no credibility, self control, wisdom, good fruit or humility. In this, it has been revealed that Sarah is a liar..

    Reply

  6. Inside_Passage
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 20:12:00

    I've done my research. That's why I know that you're no better than she is. Realize that like the people who mistake you for a liberal when you're really a conservative, you're mistaking me for a sycophant when I'm not even a Palin supporter. The reason I hold you to account for your behaviour is that you reflect very badly on those with a legitimate grip against her. Evidenced by your blog and your own quotes, you're no different than she is, with the exception of acting slightly more educated. Note that after some of her shocking blunders, being more educated than she is … that's not something to brag about.You weren't sought out for an opinion, because you made that statement as fact. Let's not pretend that claiming someone said something is an opinion. It is a claim of fact. No reputable organization in the media states an opinion as fact.

    Reply

  7. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 23:26:00

    And how does my behavior badly reflect on those who have a legitimate gripe against Palin? What research have you done? I'm quite different from someone like Sarah. I'm honest about my limitations and have lots of good and faithful conservative Christian fruit scattered all around. Who would have more of a legitimate reason to hold Palin accountable than a Wasilla resident who saw her incompetence and unethical behavior first hand? Than she does the same thing at a higher level. My willingness to express opinion, comments about the realtime events is why media asks. However, my verbal portrayals in many cases have been verified as fact. Hey, you don't know me or should you care about my opinion! Why do you?
    What than do you add to the debate Inside Passage? If you stand for nothing- you'll fall for anything. That's nothing to brag about!

    Reply

  8. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 23:49:00

    You are clearly misdirecting your anger and vitrol towards me in a very personal way. You have nothing to offer on this blog, especially integrity or honesty? You make NO sense most of the time…… My integrity is quite in tact. I serve honorably on many boards and commissions, I have a real reputation to be mindful of in my community. Who the HELL are YOU? What's your name? You have NO integrity to come here and lie about your knowledage of me or Alaska. In your fit a rage you discredit yourself. You add nothing to any political debate, let alone the subject of Sarah Palin. You have nothing that resembles honesty or ability to reason! Who are you? Murkowski love-train? GET OVER IT! Take a running leap….Take the inside passage somewhere else!

    Reply

  9. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 01:05:00

    You're arrogant and ignorant!!! I stand behind my words here and on my radio program. My behavior is stellar, I say what I mean and mean what I say here on my blog or anywhere else I have an opportunity to debate the issues. Sarah Palin is irrelivent to Alaska. It's not over for Sarah, still cases pending and legislature may look into a few things in January. She'll dilly dally for awhile but Sarah is still highly unethical and a fraud. It will continue to show everytime she opens her mouth. Take an inside passage somewhere else where you can malign, misrepresent, misinform!

    Reply

  10. Inside_Passage
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 07:50:00

    The fact that you stand behind your words, that you say what you mean and mean what you say, all of that means nothing. Any liar would say the same thing as an honest person when it comes to that. That you have the sheer hypocrisy it takes to call someone else arrogant for pointing out lies come out of your fingertips when you do the same elsewhere is baffling. Yes, I have listened to your radio program, and I've heard some of the same garbage on there as well. Nice touch, telling people it's the Big Three's oil, not the state of Alaska's.I've sourced my claims, told you exactly what it is you lied or misled about. Instead of actually backing up your own claims against me, you're simply namecalling over and over, as if you think repeating something makes it true. It does not, and I'll remind you, Good Christian, that bearing false witness is a sin and does not bear positive fruit. Show me where I've misinformed, misrepresented or misaligned. Until then, you have nothing to contribute.What you don't seem to get is that I'm not letting Palin off the hook. I'm putting -you- on the hook as well. Enjoy the company.

    Reply

  11. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:23:00

    Putting me on the hook? It's not about me or ever has been.
    You know nothing about Alaska resources or the constitution. The state government owns the raw crude. In order to be worth anything it has to be produced into a value added product. Alaska's 12.5 royality is considered for the people in a perverted socialistic way, that has never been changed and it should. The wind fall profit tax, production tax, drilling tax, tarriffs and other taxes is what the state government takes from the private sector 300% increase. Palin boosted oil-company taxes while Alaska had budget surplus! What the government takes, private industry cannot or will not reinvest.
    You must like my phrasing and words because you use them in everything you say. BORING. You have no creativity, no sense or purpose here.
    Claims against you? Who cares? Go away.

    Reply

  12. Inside_Passage
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 10:41:00

    Me putting you on the hook IS about you. Your posts are not. Don't confuse one for the other.Those are state resources, period, raw or not. If it were not, we would not deserve any royalty whatsoever. No PFD, nothing. After all, if it doesn't belong to us, we have no right to any of it. But the fact is that this is not a buyer transaction, this is a partnership in which the state leases the rights to the state's oil for refinement, for production and transportation of the oil. Without that raw crude, the oil company's have exactly one thing: NOTHING.I only use your phrasing because you are apparently not wise enough to grasp a direct connection between what I'm responding to and what you said without making it headlight-blindingly clear. The same as with responding to these cases with their tripe about "death panels." My purpose, successful or not, in replying to blogs such as yours is to make some sort of difference. That's less likely to have an effect on someone willfully blinded by their own clap, but that's nothing new.If you don't care, why make the dishonest claims in the first place? Why throw the childish fits where you call me a sycophant, call me arrogant and ignorant when I'm doing nothing different than you do? Guilty conscience?

    Reply

  13. Syrin from Wasilla
    Aug 23, 2009 @ 11:33:00

    Headz up
    YOU MAKE NO DIFFERENCE! Your ignoranance is deep….Go to all the blogs you want, comment about things you don't have a clue about. You add nothing to the debate! Nobody cares what you have to say, especially an Alaskan educated in energy policy GOOD and BAD….

    Reply

  14. You Betcha!
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 12:27:00

    Syrin,Inside Passage's comments don't make sense – this poster is obviously referring to some issues unrelated to this post. The idea of going to a blog, saying that you are going to blogs "to make sort of difference", and then insulting the author is not my idea of trying to make a difference, it's rather a way to slam doors quite soundly on any sort of meaningful dialog. Hey, if I had time to waste like that, I'd be over at Ms. Zero's pack o' dummies saying things like "Ms Zero" and "Pack O' Zero's Dummies". Come to think of it, though – their hate and vitriol is so profound that they wouldn't even recognize those words as the insults they are! Not so bright, that bunch.I appreciate your views on the Palin debacle because you are a conservative, a Christian and a Valley resident. It has opened my eyes to see other people who think of themselves as upstanding citizens and active in promoting their religious views, just fall in line behind the idiocy and hypocrisy of Palin. I appreciate that you make an effort to define your beliefs and stand behind them with your efforts and in spite of much criticism. This one's for you, Ivy Frye with a stick in your eye – "KEEP ON BLOGGING, SYRIN!"

    Reply

  15. Inside_Passage
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 20:00:00

    You Betcha:My comments make perfect sense in light of my ongoing interaction with Syrin. Reasoning and intelligent discussion do not work with her. Everything I've said gets me accused of being a fool, a sycophant or some other insulting or demeaning smear. All based on some premise that I support Palin when I've repeatedly made it clear that I don't. Switching tactics, I've pointed out, with examples, that her behaviour is no better than Palin's. According to you, that's insulting her despite the fact that every statement is entirely true.If you have a problem with the truth, that's a failure on your part.

    Reply

  16. ken
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 17:41:00

    ivy frye with a stick in your eye,what have we here is this really syrup's daughter..

    Reply

  17. Syrin from Wasilla
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 09:16:00

    Talk about immature and name calling…. syrup? Wow! I don't care, you obviously don't have a life. My daughter's are beautiful, smart and not teenage mothers. One is going to Afghanistan and one is a teacher. I got a son right in the middle- he and his wife gave me my first grandchild. I'm Blessed!

    Reply

  18. xango_xango
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 11:21:00

    Palin was Alaska's first Governor to get elected on a hoax. She lied and cheated her way into office with these four words: "Stop makin' things up!"How did she get elected? By Makin' Things Up in the first place! Ken, buddy, get a grip. Somehow Winky is caught in your underpants and can't get out. What are you so obsessed about this for – haven't you made an ass out of yourself regarding Palin on here enough already? Sorry, not buying what you have for sale….Palinitis is in your blood.

    Reply

  19. Inside_Passage
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 12:34:00

    Palin didn't get elected by lying and cheating, she got elected because her predecessors were a corrupt failure and a non-entity.

    Reply

  20. xango_xango
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 15:01:00

    Back in the old days in Alaska we used to expel politicians for lying on their resumes and taking credit for other people's work. She makes Murkowski look like Mother Theresa, go figure. Google Palin Lies and sit back for a few weeks worth of reading material. Youcan'tmakethisstuffup

    Reply

  21. ken
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 23:22:00

    okay that was very insightful,and whats with the name is there a echo in here or do you believe in deja vu,either way i am not your buddy and you can leave my winky out of this,syrup has been a obama supporter since the first blog i have seen of hers,from her reproducing negative obama stories and inserting,palins name where conservatives have put obamas name,to bad mouthing every attempt by republicans to turn the party around,if she wanted respect she could call herself a democrat,and stop trying to be part of the fifth estate,if you read every post she has ever put up you will see her towing the fascist liberal line,and then at the end of the post she will insist that she is a conservative republican.she doesn't just have it in for palin,its gingrich,its rush,beck,steele,mccain as a matter of fact i have yet to meet the republican on the national stage that she has something good to say about.now there have been sometimes when she slipped in some democrats that she thinks are doing it right,but as of yet no republicans…now both of you most likely read that politic-fact thats in alot of newspapers if you want to know my ''fact'' syrup saying she is any kind of a republican would set that dial to pants on fire and keep it there until hell freezes over…

    Reply

  22. xango_xango
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 14:18:00

    I think you are missing out on the wing-nut side of the conservative picture. Palin and her wing-nuts will continue to damage the republican party.

    Reply

  23. ken
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:00:00

    i've read every post you've put up,every word no.my soul can't handle that kind of garbage.don't throw the bible at me i'll feed it to you,arguing theology with my bishob has some very fond memories,and he lost at least half the time.
    you are the republicans fifth estate,that you might not know who and what you are is amazing,that you most likely know and are lieing about it means there is a special place in hell reserved for you.
    that palin has been playing in national political/social arenas since at least clintons timeseems to have escaped your sight.but it hasn't escaped the liberals they have been whispering about it for years.
    go back to your honey making,before you get stung buy a real republican american…

    Reply

  24. Inside_Passage
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:14:00

    Xango, the republican party in Alaska has been damaging itself long before Palin came along. That's probably a good thing, as both the Democrats and the Republican parties in Alaska need a good colon cleansing as shown by the recent investigations.

    Reply

  25. Inside_Passage
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:17:00

    Uh, Ken, Palin hasn't been in politics that long. She has never been in national politics until the recent presidential election, she was only governor for about 2 years before that, and a city mayor in Wasilla for a few years before that. She has experience, but not anywhere near as much as you're making her out to be.

    Reply

  26. Syrin from Wasilla
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:29:00

    …….she doesn't just have it in for palin,its gingrich,its rush,beck,steele,mccain
    I have it in for ANYBODY who is incompetet and lacking in personal integrity regardless of their political party!!! Got that?
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2Tim 4:3,4
    If you were politically astute instead of being a imbecile or mooncalf you'd know that Sarah"whack Job" Palin is who towed the fascist liberal line…
    YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVEN'T READ EVERY POST….THAT MAKES YOU A LIAR

    Reply

  27. ken
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:31:00

    in some ways i just wish some people would stop voting.i didn't say that she was in politics that long only that she has had a keen interest in politics that long.do some work go to the liberal blogs,see what their saying i have been doing it for awhile,at first i thought they were talking about hillery,but their not,they are talking about palin,and for some reason she scares the hell out of them,they really see her as the one to watch out for.everybody knows that presidents have ''kingmakers'' behind them, jessie jackson was obama's,who is the power broker behind palin????if you can find that answer our country might be safe again..!!!!! until then just ….don't vote……

    Reply

  28. Syrin from Wasilla
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 20:52:00

    Republican Party of Alaska is just fine! Senator Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Jay Ramras, Sen.Charlie Huggins are wonderful representation for their constituants…
    FYI…..Those recent investigations that you mentioned resulted in each of those people to be released for their so called crimes and the federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice are currently being investigated for misconduct and falsifying evidence.

    Reply

  29. Inside_Passage
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 21:07:00

    If I were talking about Ted Stevens, you'd have a point. Thanks to the efforts of the FBI, the political scene got a decent dose of said cleansing. Do I need to remind you?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_political_corruption_probe

    Reply

  30. ken
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 22:08:00

    why do you confuse astute with stupidity,there is nothing but glowing support for dems and nothing but insults for rep.enven biden who gets bad marks from the dems is just okey dokey to you.
    why don't you just admit your a dem. i'd at least have some respect for your honesty,but now your just a wolf in sheeps clothing.
    a true evil………..

    Reply

  31. xango_xango
    Sep 03, 2009 @ 13:50:00

    Inside Passage – I spent a couple decades working in the legislature during the Ramona Barnes regime when all of this bs started. I have a clear understanding of which you speak. The wingnuts that were elected at that time marched in under Veco's banner.I'm non-partisan but have a high respect for many of the legislators I worked with, D's and R's and am hopeful Parnell continues to restore stability in this state. Parnell was a great legislator but his strong support for GINO has got to stop or he won't be elected to anything,in the future, ever. No, Alaskans like Syrin weren't making things up, and it's all finally coming out unfiltered.

    Reply

  32. xango_xango
    Sep 03, 2009 @ 13:58:00

    ken, go snuggle up to your Obama pillow and take a nap. 1. who asked you2. who caresI've got my fly swatter out, you evil troll.

    Reply

  33. ken
    Sep 03, 2009 @ 18:47:00

    what is that the best you got,other then being a butt kisser of syrup's who or what are you.form a opinion of your own then maybe you can come close to being that condesending.

    Reply

  34. Syrin from Wasilla
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 20:13:00

    HUH? Again you make NO sense…

    Reply

  35. ken
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 21:30:00

    i read and reread your whole blog you have nothing but contempt for republicans and always seem to sneak in a compliment for the democrats.there are some democrats that at least try to do good there is no shame in being one.stop playing make believe and join them,your life will be much simpler and like the rest of the rino's i will know where you stand.

    Reply

  36. Inside_Passage
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 22:41:00

    Ken: Maybe you missed her slogan that says, "Republican no more, conservative to the core"? You realize that conservatives can be pretty much any party whatsoever or none at all, right?

    Reply

  37. ken
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 23:19:00

    okay,maybe i just don't understand,does she have some need for self- punishment,is it some kind of self destruct,the road she is walking on is a dead end,she has no hope of doing any good,a;ot of rino's are being flushed out right now,she can join them,or she can get behind the republican party,and help take this country back from the brink,because thats where it is right now,this is more then just some marxist president,its the freaking weather underground its van jones and his black nationalists,its every damm nut job who thinks they know the future this country should head off towards,not to mention the scum who just want to tear it down and not bring it back,the next ten years are the period where this country will be tested and people like syrup are part of the problem,they are not the solution.unless you see the solution as death…

    Reply

  38. Arkadas
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 14:34:00

    which is the killer one on the photo the gun or the cigar 🙂

    Reply

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