D.C. is giddy as it argues over the division of the spoils of controlling 1/5th of the U.S. GDP and to whom and to what extent the people of the U.S. be allowed to utilize and be “asked to contribute” to national health care. I search my memory for the original cries of the electorate for the state to place its steady and benevolent hand upon the helm and once again “save us from ourselves.”
As the discussion of national health care progresses, details have been escaping the legal labyrinth that is now under construction in Congress. As these little scraps wriggle free of the lobbyists and staffers on Capital Hill we are afforded the opportunity to critique and question their true purpose.
Since we live in a Democratic Republic this health care bill must be the answer to requests of the people of our nation to their representatives. So who asked for the denial of care for the elderly at a time when they need it the most? Who complained that the American lifespan was too long? Who asked that our discretionary incomes be reduced? Was there a concern for the loss of votes from an out-crying of illegal aliens? Does 84% of Americans that are happy with their health care compare unfavorably with other countries?
Just as in the past when our country has uncovered civil injustices and inequities towards those too weak to fight for themselves; racial and sexual minorities, the young, the inexperienced, the physically and mentally infirm, all could look to our federal government to right the wrongs endured by the weak from the strong, meek from the powerful, or the harshness of the environment on the mobility, dignity, sense of worth, and self sufficiency of the handicapped. So much of what is visible of our government demonstrates a people resolute to the protection of those that can’t protect themselves and a legal system designed to ensure the sacred trust we hold in professionals: student/teacher, client/attorney, accused/constable, and patient/caregiver.
Certainly the humanity of rendering aid and diminishing the suffering of all life especially that of a fellow human is inarguably one of our greatest callings, and one that should be encouraged within the doctrine of all private and civic endeavors should our individual knowledge or (dis)ability, prevent direct personal action. However, I hear very little in this bill that is concerned with the rendering of aid. I hear much of who is, and is not worthy of such aid. I’m especially concerned with the intimation that the elderly are unworthy of expensive medical assistance and that there are even provisions within this great, though ill thought-out, legislative undertaking to counsel the elderly as to their lack of worth in their later years and ostensibly to condition the senior population to the premise that the prolonging of their life would be selfishly usurping valuable resources for their own well being.
Our own Declaration of Independence which reiterates the natural human yearning and unalienable right of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” seems to have had little influence in establishing the ground rules for the health bill now in discussion. How could this legislation disregard the length, quality, and joy of life itself when so much US law is built around the assurance that its people will not be denied the pleasure of living? Are there not laws prohibiting murder and manslaughter?
Comes now a law that limits not only the use of public funds, but the use of one’s own savings to affect life extending measures! How can the liberty of disbursement of one’s own wealth for the extension of one’s own life be denied when that wealth is the very measure of liberty and the fruits of one’s life efforts? Self preservation, the ultimate expression of individual freedom will hereby be denied by statute! How will that phrase continue to be uttered in this country?
I can not reconcile how the specific procedure of cataract surgery and its waste on the aged deprives the youthful as its need for the young is near non-existent. The same could be said for hip replacement, many heart surgeries, and a wealth of geriatric maladies. Who could be denied that one would not use. I’ve read that 50% of the health care needs of the US is used by 5% of the population, I say, “so what?” Medical care is not given to the healthy nor does it appreciably reduce most medical needs. Of course health care is needed primarily in the twilight of our lives! Of course! The denial of most procedures on the aging is the very definition of discrimination and the state-sponsored oppression of the weak and powerless. I’ve also read that much can be learned of someone by how they treat those who mean nothing to them.
Can we stomach the ultimate meaning of a bill written such as this: that the value of human life is NOT equal but may vary as some bureaucrat may determine to be in the best interest of the state? With the elderly being denied care can we feel that any medical treatment decision is altruistic? Once the value of human life is shown to be variable, are we to assume that it could be argued in a court of law that the criminal taking of the life of the old will demand less punishment. The state will have by practice officially set the value through medical inaction. Once an accepted practice, can one also surmise that Congress has another tool to use in reducing health care costs in the future? Is some life more precious than others? Where does this slippery slope take us? Is this 1984? The adoption of a plan such as this will bring about epic changes in our nation’s moral values.
What this health care debate really boils down to is whether the state is here to serve the people or do the people exist at the pleasure of the state as its needs may dictate. A low maintenance population would definitely be beneficial for the state anyhow wouldn’t it?