What a relief it was to learn from the President that he has no plans, as he recently put it, to “pull the plug on Grandma.” Cute phrase, isn’t it?
Certainly, it’s easy to be flip if, like the President, one is in one’s forties, in vibrant health – and powerful enough to ensure that loved ones will receive all the treatment they will ever need. But for those who will have to live as regular people under whatever health care regime America eventually adopts, it’s much more difficult to dismiss with a laugh what, exactly, ObamaCare would mean for the sick and the elderly.
I’m thinking of my father, who died just three weeks ago at the age of 83. Hospitalized with an acutely inflamed gall bladder, he was scheduled for surgery the next day before slipping unexpectedly into cardiac arrest.
Under the “reformed” medical system that the President seeks, it’s not pleasant to speculate about what the past few years would have meant for Dad. He was in fragile health; having survived prostate cancer 19 years ago and a triple bypass five years later, he had been undergoing peritoneal dialysis since a health crisis two years ago. There’s no doubt that he fell into the category the President has described as “the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives” who “are accounting for potentially 80% of the total [cost of] health care.” So under ObamaCare, at what point would his life have been deemed to be no longer “worth” saving?
The question matters because notwithstanding his various health challenges, my father had been actively enjoying his friends, his activities, his grandchildren and his life until the day before he died. He had practiced medicine up until the age of 76, just seven years ago. Whatever his health profile looked like on paper – the only way a “cost containment” bureaucrat would ever have encountered it – his life was precious both to him and to those of us who loved him.
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