We Already Have Death Panels

What Southern Beale said:

I’ve been part of a death panel conversation. I know about death panels.

have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room
with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that
your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You
can’t imagine what it’s like to be advised that you need to “make some
decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is
hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of
pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much
that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you
realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been
made for you. “Living will” or no, it doesn’t matter. The bank account
and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

don’t talk to me about “death panels” you heartless, cruel, greedy sons
of bitches, who are only too happy to keep the profits rolling in to
the big insurance companies while you spout your mealy-mouthed bumper
sticker slogans about the evils of socialism. You don’t even know what
socialism is. You don’t know what government healthcare is. You have no
fucking clue about anything except that you lost the last election and
you’re pissed off.

Read the whole thing. Righteous.


7 thoughts on “We Already Have Death Panels

  1. OK. I realize that the teabagger wingnuts screaming and crying at the open forums aren’t talking about logic or facts.
    But I still can’t possibly understand why it is better to have a business, decidedly for profit, deciding on care.
    I don’t particularly like the govt. But at least the govt is there to use my tax dollars as a common good. The business is there to collect my tax dollars and give them to the stockholders.
    In a similar vein, I wonder if folks realize how far the use of Evidence-Based Medicine has already made medical decisions into a cost-benefit analysis. Like Paris, EBM is all the rage. Basically, you try to find a gigantic meta-study so you can statistically compare what happens to a group with a treatment to a group without the treatment.
    While you can look at other indicators other than dollars, you are still looking at details such as, say, “Do 60 Year Old males with coronary artery blockage do better (as measured by quality of life, disease free state, length of life) after coronary artery surgery than those who don’t have the surgery. If the answer is no, it is counted as bad medicine to do the surgery.

  2. Why do you think making a cost-benefit analysis about doing any medical procedure, based on quality of life, disease-free state, and length of life is a bad thing? Your doctors shouldnot be doing procedures on you if they’re not going to do anything or benefit you in any way; that’s a gross violation of medical ethics. The best way to determine benefit isn’t to just do a treatment here, not do a treatment there, willy-nilly; it’s to look at data in aggregate and determine what are the criteria that equal maximised benefit. (For example, we know from clinical trials that redheads and some brunettes need more anesthesia than everyone else. If you’re an evidence-based doctor and you’re treating a redhead, you know to make sure to give them more freezing in that nevus you’re excising.) The randomised clinical trial really is the gold standard of determining standards of care. Iwant my doctors to use Evidence-Based and Science-Based Medicine.
    Further in EBM/SBM’s favour, it forces doctors to keep up with the newest standards of care. A lot of doctors go with what was traditionally done when they learnt medicine, which is oftentimes only about a half-step up in efficacy from the newagey quack rackets. (Look at the new evidence coming out about vertebroplasty — True Believers to the contrary, injecting high-tech cement into people’s spinesdoesn’t help their osteoporosis, so why put them through the stress — and expense, whether funded by an insurance company or a single-payer plan — of surgery?)
    There are always and have always been cost-benefit analyses in modern medicine; what gets obscene is when those analyses are made with finances as the determining factor.

  3. Doesn’t anyone remember the sidebar to the Schiavo mess, when the Texas “Futile Care Law” was brought to light.
    Yeah, death panels. They decide, and tell you if granny is going to be pushed out the door. From theHouston Chronicle:

    Under the 1999 law, a hospital may withdraw life support as long as its ethics committee agrees with the attending doctor that continued treatment is inappropriate and the family gets 10 days’ notice to arrange a transfer to another facility. The family gets 48 hours’ notice of the ethics committee hearing.

    Signed into law by that notorious big-government socialist George W. Bush. Making elimination of such GOP-created “death panels” part of the reform legislation seems like a good idea.

  4. sometimes, it IS better to let somebody die. much money was wasted to keep my epal’s step-mother alive. my 97 yr old great-aunt is ignoring her most likely breast cancer. i am sorta ok with that. tho there are some pills that might at least control it. gets nasty if it breaks the skin.

  5. But Interrobang, as much as I’d agree with you, to a point, what we’re describing is exactly one of the central points that the wingnuts fear. 😉

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