Remember when the health reform bill was being hammered out and the Republican/Faux News/Palin lie machine cranked up to warn us that the health bill contained Death Panels where in some government agent would sit in judgment of your granny’s health and then pull the plug on her. They’re gonna kill granny was the rally cry.
It was a lie, of course. One among many. Deliberate, malicious, and evil. But it worked and the provision in the bill that would have allowed family physicians to discuss end of life care with their patients was stripped out.
It’s hard to calculate the human suffering those lies may have caused, both in the false fear they generated, and in the removal of that service by physicians. Instead of Medicare covering a counseling visit (if they wished it) to get information on various end-of-life services and other necessary information people need to make informed choices, they were met with silence. Or sent elsewhere. Or sent nowhere and just left on their own with no information.
Well, President Obama has requested that the new Medicare coverage which includes a yearly physical examination or wellness visit, also include “voluntary advance care planning,” wherein the physician will be reimbursed for time spend making sure his patient has the information he/she needs to make choices based on fact, not Republican lies.
The end of life decisions and planning can run the gamut from arranging for DNR forms or palliative-only care to instructing the physician to everything possible to prolong life; the decisions will remain with the patient, but now the patient can have a frank discussion and get necessary information needed during routine screening visits, rather than leaving all this until it’s too late, leaving a family and patient in crisis.
The terrible irony in all this is studies coming out about end-of-life care are showing that a goodly number of terminal patients who select Hospice/comfort care along with standard care often live longer than those who continue with aggressive treatment alone. And the quality of their lives is measurably better. Plus, that combination costs less and is far less stressful on the patient and his or her family.
So Republican Death Panel liars need to shut up and go away.
Reason 2,308 Why Republicans Need To Shut Up
Fascinating News Analysis in the Dec 26 Tribune, from the Associated Press: Since Barak Obama’s election, Republicans have claimed that they alone know what The People Want, and since the mid-term election, “Republicans say they will follow ‘the people’s priorities’ when they gain power on Capitol Hill next month. Yet when it came to tax cuts for the wealthy and other top issues that dominated the just concluded lame-duck Congress, the GOP either defied what most Americans want or followed their will only after grudging drawn-out battles.”
Cases in point:
Tax cuts for the wealthy. “AP/CNBC Poll found only 34 percent wanted taxes reduced for the richest Americans.”
Repeal DATA: “ABC News-Washington Post poll showed 77 percent favored ending the ban” . . . “and a Pentagon survey of thousands of servicemen and women found 7 in 10 supporting the move or saying it wouldn’t hurt.”
Approve the Dream Act: “A Gallup Poll this month found 54 percent support for the measure.”
Ratify the Start Treaty: “an AP-GFK Poll last month showed 67 percent backing Senate approval of the START pact.”
Concludes the story, “The GOP’s stance was striking for a party that spent much of the 2010 congressional campaign accusing Democrats of ignoring the public’s will, a sentiment often echoed by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, expected to be the next House Speaker.”
So, please, Republicans, shut up or at the very least go back to the people you claim to represent and actually find out what they want done, then get out of your Faux News Corp alternate reality Big Lie bubble, dump the extreme base ideology and work with your fellow centrists to get the governance of this nation working again.
And stop lying to sick old people (and everyone else.) It’s evil. Plus, it’s not necessary.
Speaking of Evil
The comics are having a field day. Ditto animal rights groups like PETA. Reason? Michael Vick expressed a wish to get a dog as a pet. He’d likely have to get a court-ordered modification of his parole to do that. But pet lovers everywhere are having cows, claming that Vick is some kind of special monster who should be given a lifetime ban on owning a dog.
Much rich irony in this situation. From what Vick has said, while doing his time and going through “rehab,” is that, like a whole lot of other Americans, he came from a cultural mind-set that viewed a dog as something “other.” In this case, he and a whole lot of people involved in the “sport” of dog fighting, viewed dogs as a product, a means to an end, much the way a rancher views a cow: useful for its monetary value only. Or like puppy millers who may otherwise be kind people, but who simply do not see the cruelty in what they’re doing; to them the dog is a commodity, a product that only has value so long as it’s making money. Or, like owners of racing greyhounds which are a “product” that is kept alive only if it’s winning races. When it’s not, it’s as valueless as a broken toaster. So, it’s a bullet through the brain and onto the trash pile it goes (and in one Florida case, not actually killed, but buried alive anyway.) It’s just business. It’s just a mind set.
And if Vick’s “rehabilitation” actually changed that mind set, and he now views dogs as living creatures capable of suffering, creatures with inherent value not connected to his ego or income or gambling or rage issues, or whatever mind set he was trapped in while deep in the culture of dog fighting, then I see no reason why he shouldn’t get a dog. A dog would continue to reinforce his “change of heart.” Something dogs are very good at.
And as for the knee-jerk reaction from many members of the public? This is the same public that turns a totally blind eye to the killing of millions of unwanted dogs every year, a public that pitches a fit when various governmental agencies and/or animal rights groups even suggest increased oversight on pet breeding, or tighter limits and rules on breeders (Government take over! Government take over!) or try in any way to reduce the annual dog and cat kills. They couldn’t’ care less.
So, go figure. And to Vick, go ahead, get a dog. It’ll do your insides good.