by Jayne D. Frank
Update: Because of the uproar of American voices over this issues below, the Obama Administration for the second time removed any language paying doctors for and mandating end of life counselling during seniors yearly physical (the power of We the People)!
Unphased by the outrage from Americans during the health care debate this year, the Obama Administration and newly appointed Medicare and Medicaid Director Donald Berwick planned all along to include “death panels” in the ongoing care of Medicare and Medicaid recipients, and so we see it raise its ugly head again in the form of regulations for the yearly “government-sponsored” wellness visits for seniors. The Administration will argue that there is nothing mandatory in the regulations, but the counselling is to be “yearly” and doctors are given incentives to include end-of-life counselling in every senior’s yearly wellness checks now. It is the right thing for seniors to have their Directives and wishes put down in writing as they age, but this is a family matter and not to be coerced by government regulators.
Let’s consider a couple of personal observations here:
- During my husband’s annual wellness visit which he has always paid for himself, because he IS cognizant that early treatment of any problem staves off massive healthcare costs later, received a new letter from his internist as he arrived for his annual appointment. Two things immediately jumped off the paper to me. One was a statement that the “health care team” will always be there for him (what about his doctor?), and that they were turning their office of internists into a “home care center” where they may involve you in decisions of how “aggressive” your care should be, and that “your goals” will be reviewed along with the “doctor’s goals” for treatment to see if they match. This was in August, 2010 that this was issued. Anything familiar here? The doctors knew this was coming in some form with Obamacare and they are just preparing for what is to come.
- My dad had Stage IV cancer a few years ago and during that cancer, broke his leg in an auto accident, and still decided to fight not only through rehabilitation (which was successful), but also through his cancer treatments. He was walking after his rehab, taking care of my mother and still enjoying some quality of life with his family at holidays and even a vacation thrown in by the family. He lasted 2 years. Had it been in today’s environment, he would have been asked to “die quickly” upon his diagnosis because of all the people without insurance that the government had to cover, many of whom chose on purpose not to be covered or lived a horrible lifestyle where they couldn’t get insurance. Should I have given up the time laughing with my father for some of those slugs in the system? I don’t think so. My father worked hard as an engineer all his life and worked as many jobs as were necessary to make sure he and my mother’s health insurance was paid for.
- My sister-in-law is 82 now and just went successfully through open heart surgery a year ago for blocked arteries. This year, we laughed together as we prepared Christmas dinner and she hurried through the house putting together cookie boxes for her whole family. The house was also beautifully decorated again for Christmas, all done by this gorgeous and kind woman. She will soon need a new hip, and do you think there is any chance if that surgery is requested by her in the next year or so, that she will be given that hip? I think not because of the cost. Under some guise that it will not dramatically improve the quality of her life, she will probably be denied that operation, thereby rendering herself useless and a burden to her husband and the rest of the family as she immediately resorts to a wheelchair and modification to her home. Again, an industrious woman with a career all her life who has paid for her own insurance for more than 60 years.
These scenarios will play out all across America and our seniors will be asked to sacrifice their quality of life and in some cases, their lives, to pay for the cost of Obamacare for those that did not want to pay, are here illegally, or who live such a bad lifestyle that they are going to need emergency room visits for those complications for their drugs or smoking habits.
To me, it is criminal and disrespectful how we are proposing to treat our seniors and this is one of the reasons we need to repeal Obamacare and fix the problems that do exist in our health care system, one by one, a step at a time. We can fix the cost of health care by tort reform and fraud and abuse. We can insure those that truly deserve to be insured, but not on the backs of our parents! I hope that while the dozens of state lawsuits are making their way to the Supreme Court and the 112th Congress is busy working on legislation to fix Obamacare, that during the State of the Union address in February, that someone else like Rep. Wilson has the courage and guts to stand up to President Obama and say “You lie!”