Paul Jacob

My wife and I disagree about some of the key end-of-life issues. When such morbid subjects arise, as they must and as they have with increasing frequency as the debate over medical care rages on, she remains adamant that she does not want to linger in pain, holding on to those final months, weeks, days or moments through any extraordinary medical intervention.

On the other hand, I want to live for every additional second modern medicine or Providence might permit. Dylan Thomas summed up my feelings in his most famous poem:

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

As President Barack Obama and Congress discuss health care legislation, and we citizens worry over the ramifications of possible policy outcomes, there arises the haunting specter of euthanasia. My wife and I may disagree on what end-of-life decision to make, but we agree that it should be our decision, not the government's.

A proposal to cover millions more Americans with medical insurance predicated on spending less on medical care in the process perplexes enough. But for those who care about freedom -- not having government tell you how to live -- and those who wish to live as long as they can -- by definition, not having the government tell you to hang it up and die -- there is even more to fear.

It's not that Obamacare is a one-step federal government takeover of medicine. But it does qualify as another giant step in that same frightening direction.

We've known for years that the more the government picks up the tab for our doctors, nurses, and drugs, the more the government will tell us how to live our lives. What to eat. What not to eat. What not to smoke or drink. What recreations not to engage in (too dangerous), and that we need to do more leg-lifts and jumping jacks with more gusto -- like a scene I recall from 1984.

Already cities have banned trans fat. The poor, who happen to smoke or drink alcohol in larger percentages than those more well off, are increasingly crushed under sin taxes. There's talk of hiking taxes on Dr. Pepper -- and candy.

We can hope that the power of police unions can keep donuts on the market at relatively low expense.

But expect much worse. And though the excuse for ever greater nannying will always be to protect the taxpayers (forced by politicians to pay the medical bills of everyone else), it will be government experts, not taxpayers, dictating dietary and exercise mandates to the population.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.