Death panels survive sans end of life counseling provisions

Government option is a death panel

The elderly town hall mobs have forced the removal end of life counseling provisions from the sight unseen Senate bill said to be similar to those passed by a House committee before the August recess:

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.

A health care bill passed by three House committees allows Medicare to reimburse doctors for voluntary counseling sessions about end-of-life decisions. But critics have claimed the provision could lead to death panels and euthanasia for seniors.

Death panel problem solved? Not!

Counselling designed to persuade the ill to give up and voluntarily die in a hospice precedes a decision by the government option administrators to approve or disapprove life-saving or physical disability-correcting treatment.

If the patient agrees to eschew life enhancing procedures in favor of zoning out on morphine for the sake of deficit reduction, then the death panel takes a holiday.

But whether there exists a provision of the government option insurance policy requiring or authorizing end of life counselling by a doctor for fee reimbursement or gratis, in no way eliminates the existence of a death panel.

There is no government option absent a death panel.

Patients with private insurance must obtain approval for payment for life extending or enhancing treatment. If denied pre-approval, they can sue and/or pay for the treatment themselves. Insurance companies are loathe to deny coverage given their competition.

The government option replacement of private insurance would substitute a government panel of bureaucrats for insurance company underwriters, with the differences between them and private insurers being that the government would have no competitors and, under the House bill patients denied coverage would be prohibited to pay for such treatment out of their own pockets.

It is obvious to anyone with any understanding of economics that the public option or a co-op would drive private insurers out of business as employers opted for the cheaper government option vs. an 8% tax penalty coercion.

President Obama was accused of cognitive dissonance this past week with his attempted assurances that this would not happen since UPS and FedEx survive the Post Office. But what went uncommented upon was the fact that the private carriers are prohibited from making regular home delivery of letters unless they charge twice the fee charged by the Postal Service. Hence, all but pure idiots or those that must insure next day delivery use FedEx or UPS for regular letter mailings.

All insurance requires a “death panel”. Competition and the free market ensures more rational and compassionate decisions than impersonal government bureaucrats with a monopoly.

Government as the insurer inherently requires a decision maker concerning requests for reimbursement for requested treatment. The decider is a government panel with DISCRETION that answers to no one.

It is great that the end of life provisions were found out. What they revealed was an underlying evil of government power in so vital an area of life and death. It reveals the insidious incentive of a government desiring to “cut costs” to seek out the only area where costs can be cut, i.e. heroic efforts to save lives.

These end of life provisions were also made more vivid by President Obama’s cold Town Hall rejection of the suggestion by the daughter of a non-terminal 100 year-old mother that government panels consider her subjective will to live in a request for a pacemaker to extend her life. Obama said only objective considerations should save her from the preferred morphine zone out. This Obama statement was made weeks before unruly mobs of seniors dared raise their voices at congressional town halls.

Keith Ellison (D-MN) told his Town Hall voters that they needed to get over the “guilt trap” regarding saving their parents’ lives, much like those about to be raped should “lay back and enjoy it.”

Therefore, if we want to celebrate the threat from death panels, we will have to wait a bit longer. And while waiting, don’t be fooled that even the elimination of a government option, nor even the elimination of a co-op alternative removes the threat.


A bill could establish no government insurer and still pass regulations applicable to private insurers that would essentially turn them into death panels as well.

It appears that while abortion was above Obama’s pay grade that he is paid quite enough to snuff out born alive infants that survive abortions; the severely disabled up to and including those named Shiavo; pacemakers for those over the age of 99; and even hip replacements for his own grandmother.

He said that he would gladly pay for his grandma’s hip but that he didn’t think taxpayers should have since she died soon thereafter. Obama forgot to mention that unlike him and members of Congress and Union members, it would be illegal for us mere citizens to pay for such treatment if the death panel says so.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.