Primary subject: healthcare reform.
Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) had a sharp exchange over their differing health care plans at Sunday’s NBC debate, with Clinton fiercely defending the Affordable Care Act as she continues seeking the title of President Obama’s successor.
Clinton was asked by Andrea Mitchell if it was fair to say, as she has charged, that Sanders wanted to “kill” Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, with his universal health care plan. However, Sanders voted for Obamacare as a member of the U.S. Senate.
“When you’re talking about health care, the details really matter, and therefore we have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20 years as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people’s health care,” Clinton said….
Am I the only one getting the idea that Comrade Sanders smells blood in the water?
The Daily Signal by Katrina Trinko
“My concern is for people who don’t have resources, who don’t have a choice.”
“You read about Oregon denying someone a lung transplant, but, ‘Here, you can you have these pills.’”
“That’s my fear about what this would become.”
That’s what Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents the San Diego area, told the Sacramento Bee in an interview published in July.
Gonzalez is a Democrat who opposed California’s new physician-assisted suicide law, which was signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat.
Gonzalez is right to be afraid.
In theory, the California law has safeguards ensuring that suicide is solely the patient’s choice. “Before the drugs can be prescribed, two California doctors must agree that the person has no more than six months to live,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “It is then the patient’s choice whether to take the drugs. Those who want to must affirm their intention 48 hours in advance and must take the drugs on their own, without help.”
But there are many ways to influence people, to get them to the point where they do state that their intentions are to die. And the example of Oregon, which enacted physician-assisted suicide in 1997, provides plenty of reason to be concerned that people, especially those who are low-income, are susceptible to ill-intentioned persuasion.
Dr. William Toffler, an Oregon doctor, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in August that “the regular notices I receive indicating that many important services and drugs for my patients—even some pain medications—will not be covered by the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s Medicaid program” were “concerning.”
“Yet physician-assisted suicide is covered by the state and our collective tax dollars,” Toffler, who is also national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, noted. “Supporters claim physician-assisted suicide gives patients choice, but what sort of a choice is it when life is expensive but death is free?”
Take the case of Barbara Wagner, whom Gonzalez was likely referring to in her remarks. Wagner was a lung cancer patient whose case attracted national attention in 2008, after her insurance company told her it wouldn’t cover a drug costing $4,000 a month her doctor had prescribed but would cover the drugs required for a physician-assisted suicide, according to ABC News. “It was horrible,” Wagner told ABC News at the time.
“I got a letter in the mail,” she recounted, “that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”
Health Care Costs and Physician-Assisted Suicide
The situation in Oregon and Washington, which legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2008, also support the worries of Gonzalez and others about the financial incentives created by legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
“Last year, over half the patients who committed assisted suicide in Oregon relied on the government for their health coverage or had no coverage at all,” wrote Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Public Discourse earlier this year. “Over three-quarters of those dying under Washington’s assisted suicide law were partly or completely dependent on Medicare or Medicaid.”
As health care costs continue to soar, physician-assisted suicide could potentially draw more interest as a solution. Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon fellow at The Heritage Foundation, warned in a March report about that possibility.
“Given the increasing number of elderly patients in modern societies, their increasing longevity, and the increasing cost of treating their chronic illnesses,” he wrote, “[physician-assisted suicide] will increasingly be seen as a cost-effective option and one that the elderly should be encouraged to consider….”
Permission to reprint granted by The Daily Signal/Heritage Foundation.
Twenty-nine year old Brittany Maynard, Portland, Oregon, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer; and has decided to “legally” terminate her life on November 1st.
Maynard now in stage 4 glioblastoma will use medication prescribed by her physician to commit the act in accordance with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
A Colorado mother of four in stage 4 metastatic cancer has written an open letter to Maynard, urging Maynard to reconsider ending her life November 1st.
In her letter, the woman, Kara Tippetts, says to Maynard that by ending her life in the manner chosen, she would be denying loved ones “of precious moments they could spend with her in her final days.”
Tippetts who is the author of “The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard” shared the letter “on Ann Voskamp’s blog – A Holy Experience.” The title of the letter is
…Brittany, your life matters, your story matters, and your suffering matters. Thank you for stepping out from the privacy of your story and sharing it openly.
We see you, we see your life, and there are countless lovers of your heart that are praying you would change your mind….
Dear heart, we simply disagree. Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known….
When I first heard the report of Maynard, I thought to myself, “We’re about to have this dialogue whether America is ready for it or not.” It is clear that Maynard, but one of many facing this predicament has reflected deeply before making her decision. Her video can be viewed here.
At the same time, we have Tippetts correspondence to Maynard that reaches deep into one’s soul.
Having thought their decisions through and opening the door for a much needed albeit passionate discussion here in America, both women are blessed in that they are surrounded by those who support and love them. I pray for Brittany Maynard and Kara Tippetts, their families, friends and loved ones.
Doctor-assisted suicide is legal in the state of Oregon under the Death with Dignity Act enacted October 27, 1997.
Sources: A Holy Experience.
Older people with lung cancer are much less likely to be given life-saving surgery than the young, it has been revealed.
Those aged 75 or over were five times less likely to have an operation even if they were in good health and their cancer had not spread.
The research by Macmillan Cancer Support, with Monitor Deloitte and Public Health England, adds to mounting evidence of age discrimination in NHS treatment.
Experts say there are complex reasons why older patients may not receive surgery, including other serious health conditions or if the cancer has spread.
But Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan, said that isn’t the whole picture…. many older cancer patients’ treatment is chosen based on their age alone…
As reported last year by the Express.co.uk, only14% of seniors over the age of 74 were offered chemotherapy post breast cancer surgery, a treatment that is standard for younger patients.
…In nearly a third of 803 case studies, doctors decided on treatment without looking at the patient’s general fitness or knowing what type of breast cancer they had….
In the United States, seniors will be the sacrificial lambs in order to control costs under Obamacare.
At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call.
Those delays — due to technological snags with enrollment websites, bureaucratic tangles at state Medicaid programs and a surge of applicants — betray Barack Obama’s promise to expand access to health care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
As a result, some low-income people are being prevented from accessing benefits they are legally entitled to receive. Those who face delays may instead put off doctors appointments and lose access to their medicines….
This is insane. A little while ago, I had a conversation with the clerk in a grocery store in my neighborhood. This man informed me that he completed his application through the healthcare exchange last November. As of the end of April, he was still waiting. Even worse, this fellow has diagnosed a year ago with stomach cancer.
To hear Progressives tell it, Obamacare is working just fine. Yeah right. H/t Weasel Zippers.