Monday, November 23, 2009

"The High Costs of Dying..."

by j. wright - 11/23/2009
Last Sunday I watched a portion of 60 Minutes on CBS-TV. Their first segment had to do with national health care. It began with an opening statistic (whose validity some might question) claiming $50 billion is expended annually to keep ailing seniors alive for an additional two months or so in their last days. Is the "do no harm" axiom now dependent on costs? Or on the sanctity of life?

We all should remember, it’s still the PATIENT'S choice to linger in possible pain with the HOPE (Remember that word? A favorite of many liberals) that their condition might improve. Remember that liberal favorote; CHOICE? It's not up to the Doctor or the Government to decide. Not yet anyway

CBS, as self-appointed experts in medicine and national economics, concluded in the case of extending a fellow human's life for an indeterminate length of time, that $50 billion dollars is obviously too much American capital to waste. We need to become more "cost effective."

On October 19, Senate Democrat Majority Harry Reid stated almost sneeringly that Medical Tort Reform would save "only" $50 billion a year.

On August 31, 2009 the NY Times said medical tort reform is moving to the fore of the health care debate, that medical malpractice cost the system $50 billion a year. Reid referred to it as a small fraction of the $2 trillion that health care reform would cost. Obviously a faux pas on Harry's part, one of those nasty unintended consequences of forgetting which lie to rely upon. His Senate bill claims to cost "only" $847 billion during the next ten years. Do the math... multiply $50 billion ten times: $500 billion. A small fraction, Harry?

If Medical Tort Reform were put in place, how many fewer needless tests and costly medications would our current system push in order to prevent frivolous lawsuits? No, apparently it’s easier to expect ailing seniors to just die rather than to take potential income away from trial lawyers, cronies who contribute tons of money to the Democrat Party. Sleaze politics

Is $50 Billion too much to spend on aging seniors or is it too little to save on overall health care? Decisions, decisions. It's still $50 billion every year. The Republican minority have insisted that any Health Care Reform include ways to save billions in Tort Reform. Harry Reid says no way. The Republicans also offered up eleven (11) amendments during the debate of these many bills, a,endments that would force the lawmakers to drop what they have now and be nsured like the rest of the country will be under their great plan. All eleven were nixed. These jokers are OUR employees, but who'd have guessed that?

$50 billion is either a drop in the bucket or it’s a needless waste of money. It depends on where your values lie. My question is simple, why should U.S. government bureaucrats now get into the business of determining when the ailing should die, or live, and for how long?

Proponents of the government plan say that many doctors feel that those final stabs at prolonging an uncomfortable life do more harm than good and not much good. I say it doesn't matter what the doctors or the government "feels" or concludes. If the patient is awake, lucid and can communicate their wishes, to either pull the plug or give it another try, it's their CHOICE.

How much longer we will have the FREEDOM of CHOICE is debatable under this president and our current lawmakers. The lawmakers passed Medicare and Medicaid years ago to afford seniors some type of medical care... as usual, their numbers were way off the target, like ten times less than the actual costs when it paned out. Quite a mistake. Now the Democrat lawmakers, seeing that mistake, want to take away between s450 - s500 billion in payments to doctors and care providers, who subsequently will NOT accept Medicare patients, or will discover a way to cut their losses like rationing care. The elderly will be the ones left holding the bag.

This new health care boondoggle will cause thousands of doctors to retire or move off shore; it will add millions of people that are now uninsured and still leave millions of Americans without coverage. Care and treatment will not improve, costs will increase. The deficit will expand. Our debts to foreign nations will increase as well. It will ultimately insure illegal aliens (for their future votes following amnesty legislation) and worst, it will use taxpayer money to fund voluntary abortions. Those are the bad things. It’s possible the good things that are included in the bill won’t justify the bad.

What in hell are those lawmakers (Democrats) thinking? They seem all to willing to pass a really bad law instead of trying to improve what we have now.



Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Medical care at any phase of life is cheap - if someone else is paying for it. Families (including mine) might not opt for Granny to have everything done in the ICU if they bore some of the financial cost.

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

I cannot think of how this law helps

but understand the thought of getting everyone help too

a quagmire is how I look at it all

JWright- said...

I maintain that medical treatment is an issue with the individual being treated, their family, and the attending physician. Since when has the government become so interested in costs? In saving money? This "health care reform plan" is nothing but a power grab. I don't see it doing anythng to improve anyone's health. jaq~

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

I don't like Obamacare either. However, folks cannot receive every available medical benefit regardless of cost. Much medical care is of questionable benefit. Should individual be entitled to them if someone else is paying?

JWright- said...

Doctor Kirsch, Obviously that seems to be the aim of the socialized medicine advocates, based on what little I have gleaned from the discussions here and elsewhere.

"Someone else" is picking up the tab for most of my Medicare coverage; my earlier contributions must have evaporated by now. Same with Social Security benefits, but explain to me how any citizen can avoid either.

I have Michigan Blue Cross medi-gap insurance coverage. I'm not over charged; my annual deductibles are fair, so are the co-pays. I am satisfied. How many others are like me that do not wish to be forced to change anything in order to accomodate the several million that are uninsured? And what about the others of millions that will still be left uninsured?

My hope is that this mess will die a natural death in the Senate. It probably won't.

I appreciate your comments. Thank you.


Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

It will likely survive in the Senate, but will be toned down a bit. The real spectacle will occur in the conference committee between the House and Senate. I think Medicare folks will face some harsher realities in the years to come. These services cost too much. Seniors expect entitement to all that medicine has to offer, and don't think that they should be paying any more for it. We can't sustain this. Pray for your good health.

JWright- said...

I agree totally. The conference committee is where the real "sausage making" will take place. Whom amongst us knows what will be the product of that bunch?

I agree with you opinion on the high cost of Medicare and what most seniors expect from it today. It's cost is a far cry from what was estimated at it's onset.

We still have Democrats in the legislative branches today saying that "reform" will improve it. More lies?

I visited your blog site yesterday: nice job! :)


playertwo said...

but arent we looking at a false dichotomy created by the very people now trying to "fix" their "fixes". the way it is set up right now we are forced into a failing anti market system where we pay for viagra and botox but people bitch about bypasses for 80 year olds. can you write off you health insurance from you taxes? can you buy old people insurance across state lines just in case this might come to pass? No.
and specifically why not? because marxists create a monopoly over a soling the problem and then they create the problem so they can then get even more power,as we are witnessing. Dr K and Jaq are being drawn into an argument that misses the point from both angles. as is the plan too. we are redirected by the statists at each instead of at THEM.
sua sponte-tl