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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Die, people, die

And so it begins:

Medicare, the federal program that insures 55 million older and disabled Americans, announced plans on Wednesday to reimburse doctors for conversations with patients about whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.

[. . .]

Medicare’s plan comes as many patients, families and health providers are pushing to give people greater say about how they die — whether that means trying every possible medical option to stay alive or discontinuing life support for those who do not want to be sustained by ventilators and feeding tubes.

[. . .]

Major medical organizations endorsed Medicare’s proposal. The National Right to Life Committee opposed it on grounds that it could lead to patients’ being pressured to forgo treatment.

So, we're not quite to the death panels Sarah Palin took so much grief for warning us about, but it's pretty easy to see how we get there from here. It can go from, "Sir or Madam, do you wish to live or die?" to "Hey, don't you think it's about time foryou to move on and make room for somebody else?" 

It's not that such conversations are a bad idea. In fact, it should be part of a doctor's training to deal with end-of-life decisions. But it's downright scary that the effort is being pushed by the federal government. Oh, wait. It never goes too far in anything, does it? Forgert I brought it up.


Thu, 07/09/2015 - 2:36pm

How do you get from Medicare reimbersing doctors for conversations with patients about advance directives to death panels?  Sounds like paranoid ramblings to me.  And how does simply paying for the office call to discuss said directives constitute the federal government "pushing" anything?

Why not express your opinion on George W. Bush taking $100,000 in 2012 to speak at a charity fundraiser for vets wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Laura Bush took $50,000 a year earlier to speak to the same group, Texas-based Helping A Hero.

Do you think it was right for Bush to have been paid to raise money for vets through the group, which provides adapted homes to service members who became disabled in combat?  Bush is the reason the vets have no arms or legs in the first place. Bush reportedly also got a private jet trip to Houston for the speaking gig at a cost of $20,000.  If the greedy basterd would speak for free, that's another $120,000 to help the veterans Bush's midguided rush to judgement maimed.

Or maybe comment on Jeb Bush's economic plan; have American's work longer hours.  Quoting Bush “My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That's the only way we're going to get out of this rut that we're in.”

Between 1979 and 2014, while the gross domestic product grew 150 percent and productivity grew 75 percent, the inflation-adjusted hourly wage of the median worker rose just 5.6 percent — less than 0.2 percent a year. And since 2002, the bottom 80 percent of wage earners, including both male and female college graduates, have actually seen their wages stagnate or fall.  Someone should let Jeb know productivity isn't the problem.

Please comment sometimes on real news Leo,  Sarah's warmed over "death panels" is ancient history.

Rebecca Mallory
Fri, 07/10/2015 - 6:32am

The usual Pavlovian response from Echo Chamber Joe.  Mr.Morris discusses Medicare and the Echo Chamber responds with a  Bushian meltdown.

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 10:04am

Again Becky, the main point flys over your head.  Let me try to simplify this for you.

The two Bush stories were examples of RECENT issues in the news.  Leo was bringing up an issue that was news 7 years ago.  The point was prodding Leo to comment on more recent news events rather than rehash ancient history.

There is important issues brought up and opinions expressed by people in power that could dramatically effect the lives of everyday people, let's discuss those issues instead of rehashing Sarah's death panels.

Got it now Becks?

Leo Morris
Fri, 07/10/2015 - 11:00am

Call me a paradoid rambler for thinking death panels are more than a seven-year-old story. Wait till us boomers really start putting a squeeze on the system.