Monday, August 24, 2009

Pulling the Plug

Carol Platt Liebau's latest article is undoubtedly heartfelt. She writes about her father who sounds like a great guy and who recently passed away. Charity should require me to let it go at that, but honesty requires me to write on a bit more.
Whatever his health profile looked like on paper – the only way a “cost containment” bureaucrat would ever have encountered it – his life was precious both to him and to those of us who loved him.

That’s why I’m grateful that he wasn’t required by some version of ObamaCare to participate in “end of life counseling,” where someone who knew nothing about him – and couldn’t have cared less – might have tried to convince him that he (and his children) would be better off if he were dead.
As has been repeatedly noted, the end of life counseling is optional and intended to be a service for those who would use it; it's not intended to be mandatory as a cost saving measure.
At least until now, there’s been no question about whether someone’s life is “worth” saving; we’ve presumed that everyone’s life is important – not just those of the powerful or the important or the connected. Or the young.

Once government mandates replace market forces in allocating health services, the resulting rationing will do more than destroy the most innovative medical system in the world.
Aye theres the rub; because of course insurance companies currently aren't acting like everyone's life is important. They aren't, Ms. Liebau. It's great that your father got the kind of care he deserved, presumably because you and your family were able to pay for it. On the other hand there are plenty of deserving people, just as deserving as your father, who are denied care because of your glibly named "market forces."

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