The Real Death Panels . . . Behind that Curtain

The Democratic Party of Minnesota’s Ministry of Truth, a/k/a the StarTribune’s editors are furious.  They have gotten on their Huffy bikes and are riding as fast as they can to save the day from those terrible Palinites.  The duplicitous New York Times has revealed that death panels are being reinserted into Obamacare.  The StarTribune, ready to fight the good, collectivist fight for the Maoist Way, has thrown down the gauntlet.  They are raging about these horrible lies about the Democratic Party’s plan to takeover health care and make it a political tool.  But, is this really the true story?

Advocating end-of-life care planning does not equal end-of-life advocacy” reads the December 29th, 2010  editorial, “Death Panel’ falsehoods are back.”  The editors are screeching to high heaven in regards to this New York Times story that revealed the Obamacare bureaucrats are reinserting ‘end-of-life’ discussion payments into Medicare.  The editors cloth their defense of this ideal with a reminder that the Bush administration also allowed payment for ‘end-of-life’ discussions between a doctor and patient and no one called them death panels.  It’s just not fair, scream the editors, for you to accuse the Dear Leader and his merry band of czars of such terrible, untrue things.  These aren’t death panels.  These are dignity in dying payments that should give doctors a paying chance to help ease the elderly into the great beyond.

The StarTribune is quite right.  This provision is not a death panel.  It is most certainly not the death panel the Democratic Party has planned for Obamacare.  This is just a way to justify cutting off care.  This is their little red herring when the death panels get cranking out the death warrants.  This will be their little, ‘look at how selfless Joe the Socialist Worker is.  He doesn’t want to burden the rest of the country with his illness.  He’s a patriotic American who happily takes an Obama-pill and quietly waits for death.’  That’s all this little exercise is.  It’s eventual cover for cutting deeply into those expensive pacemakers and blood pressure medicines.  In the meantime, it serves a more vital purpose.

While a bunch of people are arguing about this faux death panel policy, they can easily create the real death panels, courtesy of Ezekiel Emanuel and his little philosophy of communitarian ‘fairness’.  The death panels are not the private conversations between a doctor and a patient, because as is rightly pointed out, these conversations are necessarily voluntary due to a patient being open for the discussion.  However, there is nothing ‘voluntary’ about communitarian medicine as envisioned by Obamacare advocates like Paul Krugman.

Paul Krugman accidently let the cat out of the bag on This Week a few weeks ago.  The Partisan Press was careful to avoid the issue of a far Left demagogue like Krugman acknowledging that the Left needs death panels to make Obamacare work.  This little exchange shows just how intrinsic death panels are to the success of the federal takeover of the economy.

KRUGMAN: Can I just get into magnitudes here, though? The cost of permanently extending just the upper-end Bush tax cuts, as opposed to only extending the middle-class tax cuts, the 75-year cost of that is just about identical to the 75-year accounting shortfall in Social Security. So we’ve got people who are saying, oh, Social Security, got to do something about it, but let’s extend those tax cuts for rich people. This is showing how the priorities are all skewed (ph).

AMANPOUR: But what is going to happen? I mean, are you clear on where a compromise is going to be? It’s got to be discussed before the end of the year, no?

KRUGMAN: No. Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it’s not going to happen now.


Now, first of all, why wasn’t this little exchange trumpeted across national news.  The Democratic Party Propaganda Machine a/k/a mainstream media, didn’t say a peep about Krugman’s excited utterance.  EVEN THOUGH IT OCCURRED ON A MAINSTREAM MEDIA SHOW!!  That is to be expected.  Krugman, in his exuberance to defend the aims of Obamacare and Obamanomics, simply stated what all collectivists are saying at their Beltway cocktail parties and New York galas.  Krugman later said he ‘misspoke’ which is just cover for ‘told the truth’ but regardless, that is their thinking.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory of extrapolations of intent derived from errant expressions of thought; this is what he said.  Krugman articulated the far Left’s, and therefore this administration’s, process of to “take Medicare under control.”  Medicare has been under the control of objective bureaucrats who are reading the laws and making payment decisions as a result.  Krugman and Emanuel’s intent is to hand over the funding decisions to panels who will decide if it’s cost effective to treat a person of a certain age or health conditions or not.  For people who are sick or ailing, treatment will mean life.  Non-treatment will mean certain death.  These panels will decide if you get treatment or not.  They are death panels, as Krugman blurted out. 

This is not just Krugman’s harebrained scheme.  This is the publicly stated policy intent of this president.  Recall Obama’s words during the Obamacare debate at a townhall on ABC in June of 2009.  Jane Sturm explained her mother, who was 105, had a surgical procedure at 100 years old that saved her life.  She asked about care for those who had more spirit and could benefit from health care measures and whether that would be part of the system.  Obama harrumphed that idea as being too subjective.  Instead he laid out his own vision of culling the herd.

“And all we’re suggesting – and we’re not going to solve every difficult problem in terms of end-of-life care. A lot of that is going to have to be, we as a culture and as a society starting to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves.

But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” – President Obama, in his own words. 

So, the first step is political cover.  He proposes badgering the elderly and infirm into signing off on life as to not ‘burden’ the rest of us unduly.  That’s what this whole end-of-life counseling is about.  It’s not the death panel part, it’s the getting some of the ‘burdens’, otherwise known as our loved ones, to unload themselves voluntarily.  If they get a significant number of people to sign up for their Lastday and go quietly to the Sleepshop circa Logan’s Run, they are halfway home.  Once they get a bunch of useful idiots to voluntarily sign up to get outta the way, they can harass the rest of the elderly population as ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘greedy’ because they won’t just die. 

Krugman’s ‘take control of Medicare’ is the step they are working on right now quietly in the background.  He has an eager ear at the White House, the former chief of staff’s brother, Ezekiel Emanuel.  Emanuel is the Special Advisor for Health Policy for the Office of Management and Budget.  In essence, he is in charge of finding priorities in the budget for healthcare costs for the government.  As such, he is in charge of the rationing schemes which are behind all the Obamacare prerogatives. 

Zeke, as he’s lovingly called by rationists, has been hammered by conservatives like Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey because of his approach.  Zeke is wounded and irritated by their characterizations of his work.  Just because of this, I will select his answers to critics in a Zeke-friendly forum, Ezra Klein of the Washington ComPost and godfather of the Journolisters.  This will insure Zeke gets the best possible coverage of his intents and actions.

Klein sets up Emanuel in a softball question that answers itself.  In an August 14, 2009 interview with “Dr. Death”, Klein posits that the problem with health care costs escalating so dramatically is because we haven’t made the hard choices about denying care and the minimum benefits that should be insured to every American.  Klein basically says we must have rationing because we spend too much on the sick and don’t subsidize the poor enough.  Here is how Zeke responds;

Yeah. You can’t avoid these questions. Even if you don’t provide an overt justification for them, you end up making decisions. Sometimes those aren’t good decisions, or they’re decisions you regret. We had a big controversy in the United States when there were a limited number of dialysis machines. In Seattle, they appointed what they called a “God committee” to choose who should get it, and that committee was eventually abandoned. Society ended up paying the whole bill for dialysis instead of having people make those decisions.”

So, if we can analyze Emanuel’s thinking, we can see he accepts Klein’s premise that government must be a rationing body, and rationing bodies are the only way out of our ‘problem.’  Zeke then brings up a case study of the ‘problems’ in American medical care.  Seattle created ‘God committees’, which Zeke then points out were ‘abandoned.”  The result?  Society/government ended up with the bill instead of having a star chamber picking and choosing who lived and who died.  Clearly Emanuel sees this as a bad thing.  Society, which he simply assumes is ‘government’, must decide who gets care and who doesn’t.  Leaving these decisions to the private sector is simply ‘wrong.’  Why this is wrong is not understood but we can infer it comes under the rubric of liberal ‘fairness,’ a concept that is as fluid as any liberal doublespeak you can imagine.  ‘Fair’ is what they say it is.  It is not a concept that can be contemplated by any other segments of society. 

As you can see, death panels, the governmental bodies which decide who gets what, are an inherent part of their thinking.  They don’t want to use the word ‘rationing’ because it reflects their very top-down totalitarian thinking.  Collectivist philosophy demands the individual bow to the pressure of the majority.  The majority, or any collection of groups that make up such a group, can decide who lives and who dies. 

The Real Death Panels!!

Meanwhile, as the Obama administration creates rules and bureaucratic connivances for the final emergence of the death panels Krugman and Emanuel pine for.  Obamacare and budgetary discipline cannot exist without their inclusion.  But, we forget the little red herring the media throws us.

The end-of-life care payments to doctors. 

These payments are not just simple payments to doctors when a patient wants to discuss the end of his or her life.  Nor are these helpful suggestions to health care professionals for dealing with difficult situations in families.  No, these payments are tied to overall payment to health care entities.  This is not being clearly reported.  The defenders of this upraised middle finger to the American people state it’s just paying doctors to talk to patients, that’s all.  If that’s all, why did the New Obama Times report this;

“Ellen B. Griffith, a spokeswoman for the Medicare agency, said, “The final health care reform law has no provision for voluntary advance care planning.” But Ms. Griffith added, under the new rule, such planning “may be included as an element in both the first and subsequent annual wellness visits, providing an opportunity to periodically review and update the beneficiary’s wishes and preferences for his or her medical care.” New York Times, December 25, 2010, ‘Obama returns to End-of-life plan that caused stir.’  [Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown].

So, this new rule doesn’t just pay for a health care directive conversation.  It becomes part and parcel of all health care paid for by Medicare.  Certainly, “first and subsequent . . . visits could become a way of badgering patients to sign their kill order on the dotted line.  Once that kill order is signed, it will be filed away at Medicare headquarters, tabulated, and used as a propaganda to persuade other infirm people of their selfishness by not ‘giving it up already.’ 

That is the travesty of this entire philosophic position.  It is intrinsically amoral and thuggish.  It seeks to gather more control over the citizens and engage our free nature less.  The very essence of Obamacare is based on flawed premises as articulated by Krugman, Obama, Klein, and Emanuel.  The first premise is that health care is a zero-sum Malthusian equation where after you hit a certain number, the care runs out.  This is based on their limited understanding of human innovation, compassion, and free will.  The other flawed premise is that expenses to ‘society’ are expenses to ‘government.’  They created a monster in the form of elderly and indigent care, [Medicare and Medicaid] refused to fund it, expanded its responsibility, and wonder why it is exploding out of control.  They created another irresponsible scheme that is blowing up in our faces, and now they demand we hand the rest over to them to destroy as well.

It’s unconscionable that we should accept their premises and their failed ideas.  We need to think about the real problems with our system, namely governmental meddling, and fix that first.  Once we do that, the solutions will flow like water.  It is the pig-headed progressive experiments that are to blame, not the sick and the elderly.

 Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com