Did you ever notice how the sides of any issue can stretch the truth and come out with blatant lies? Then, those lies are put into emails and every small minded person passes them on until they suddenly become “truth”. People will actually believe the lies without checking them. Part of this, I think, is just laziness on the part of small minded people. They don’t feel like doing the research and the email all ready states what they want to believe anyway, so they send it off. Part of this is stupidity, well, it has an important sounding name or whatever, so it must be true, because you can’t send anything that isn’t true, right?
It is annoying if these untruths only appeared in email, but because you know who your intellectually light friends and relatives are, you can ignore those emails, it isn’t so bad. But, then some of these lie spreaders are just your cousin Todd from Buffalo, some of them are allowed to spread their lies on radio shows and TV shows. And, then it is nearly impossible to stop the spread.
Well, today, I’m going to try to stop one of these lies from going any farther.
Former lieutenant governor of New York Betsy McCaughey is going around claiming that the health care bill – H.R. 3200 (this is the bill that is in the House) – is “a vicious assault on elderly people” that will “cut your life short.”1 Between her and Palin’s lie spreading, it is a wonder that the truth ever gets told.
There is a provision in H.R. 3200 for end of life counseling that would be paid for by medicare.
H.R. 3200, page 425: Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:
(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.
(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.
(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.
(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning … .
(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.
(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders2
I do not read anything in there that states someone is going to put you down because you are no longer deemed worthy to live, as McCaughey and Palin have been claiming.
I can tell you from personal experience that the end of life decision made for a loved one is the most difficult decision ever made. I hope throughout the rest of my life that I never have to make that decision again. It is heartbreaking and one of those moments on which you look back upon and wonder – Did I do the right thing?
Having said that, I feel strongly that every one should have an end of life directive – if your wish is to be kept alive on machines – it should be followed. If your wish is no heroics, that should be followed as well.
The making / writing / drawing up of these directives should not be taken lightly. I support the health care plan to pay for counseling sessions. In fact, I think if you attend one of these sessions, you should bring along your loved ones. Your wishes should be well known in advance.
When you come to the end of your journey in this life and you sent to the afterlife to, hopefully, be in God’s presence, you really have the easy part. Those of us left waiting behind to live another day, to carry out your wishes – whatever they may be – have the hard part. It is easier to lie in the bed and be sick, than to stand beside it and watch a loved one suffer.
That is why end of life counseling is so important. You need to make your wishes known, whatever they may be. You need to assist your family to know what kinds of decisions you want made. It is the least thing any one of us can do for our family members. Cheryl and I have had these conversations of what one of us would want many times. I don’t want to make the decision for her anymore than she would want to make the decision for me, but the two of us know what the other one wants.
Allow me to go just slightly off course for a moment. I remember when I was a kid that Republicans didn’t want any government interference with anything. Individual rights were king and that was all right by me, but now, the right wing has taken it upon themselves to turn their back on these ideals. It is NOT the business of the government to decide if you live or if you die. It is YOUR choice, but the right wing wants you only to make the decision to live. They want to take away your CHOICE. But, they are claiming to be on YOUR side. It would be a joke, if it wasn’t so serious.
Let’s stop the craziness. Let us only pass on truth to each other. And, let us get the entire nation covered in health care.
2 FactCheck.org – Accessed 8/31/2009