Thursday, August 13, 2009

Democrat NY State Senator Slams Death Panel Potential

Currently, many (but not all) Democrats are busy attacking Sarah Palin for her spot-on criticism of HR 3200, Section 1233. They call her crazy, saying that she sees provisions for euthanasia in the bill where there are none. But there are, and even some Democrats understand this.

  One is New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) (photo), who wrote an open letter to Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) in which Diaz expressed grave concern about "any senior citizen who resides in New York State or anywhere in the United States of America should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would." 


Here is Diaz's July 27 letter in full (emphasis added), which he posted on his own blog:

  Dear Congressman Waxman: As Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, I am deeply concerned that a provision that targets senior citizens in Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 may preempt New York State rules and practices. This proposed federal health care legislation’s impact upon the elderly citizens of New York State needs to be sensitive to what may be considered a “state’s rights” issue, which may be best dealt with at the state level, and not imposed by Washington. 


Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives. Each life must be cherished and regarded with reverence. 


This pending legislation does not necessarily provide for that guideline, and needs to be carefully reviewed with a full and open public debate. It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen who resides in New York State or anywhere in the United States of America should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign. 


I respectfully request that you advise me if and when there may be Congressional hearings on this matter, that you provide me with an opportunity to testify at such hearings, and suggest others who may also be qualified to testify. Respectfully, Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz 


Sen. Diaz, a Democrat and Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, is worried sick about exactly the same thing that Sarah Palin has pointed out. Palin is being savaged by Democrats for her criticism. Why no savaging of Diaz? Well, that would be somewhat inconvenient for Obama. (It's so much easier to attack the stupid Republican broad, you know.)

  Diaz and Palin are just two of millions of Americans who are frightened by the prospect of "death panels" in any future Obamacare that might become law. John Griffing wrote his own criticism of HR 3200 on July 26 at American Thinker.

Excerpts, with emphasis added:

  Section 1233 of HR 3200, the healthcare reform measure under consideration, mandates "


Advance Care Planning Consultation. 


Under the proposal, all senior citizens receiving government medical care would be required to undergo these counseling sessions every five years. Further reading of the law reveals that these sessions are nothing more than a not-so-veiled attempt to convince the elderly to forego treatment. HR 3200 calls outright for these compulsory consultations to recommend "palliative care and hospice." These are typically administered in the place of treatment intended to prolong life, and instead focus on pain relief until death...

Section 1233 requires "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." But, under the terms of the section, the federal government can compel more frequent end-of-life sessions if it declares a "significant change" in the health of the Medicare recipient, a change that the bill does not confine to fatal illness, but which encompasses broad and abstract conditions described as "chronic," "progressive," or "life-limiting." 


The bill even empowers physicians to make an "actionable medical order" to "limit some or all specified interventions..." In effect, the government can determine that a "life-limiting" condition demands the withholding of treatment. 


The bottom line is that HR 3200, Section 1233 would indeed establish what many call "death panels." It would indeed require doctors to not only counsel elderly patients to accept death over treatment, it would allow for a "life-limiting" condition demands the withholding of treatment. Be afraid. Be very afraid.