Is NYT Encouraging Old Folks to Give up and Die to Help Pay for Obamacare?

July 13th, 2009 4:03 AM

Hey, grandma, hurry up and die so that Obamacare can pay for healthcare for more worthy, younger folks. That seems to be the message that The New York Times is selling in order to smooth the waters for the nationalized healthcare system that president Obama is trying to peddle to us all.

The Times is running a series titled "Months to Live" in order to help spread the sort of end of life issues that are helpful to Obama's healthcare agenda, one of which seems to be the idea that elderly should forgo any sort of heroic measures to keep them alive so as not to waste those resources that might be able to go to younger, more vital patients.

In a July 8 article reporting on the end of life care afforded Catholic Nuns in Pittsford, New York, the Times hailed the "dignified" way that nuns end life there with particular emphasis on how many of them refuse extraordinary efforts to keep themselves alive. Apparently, the Times thinks we should emulate the nuns and just let ourselves die without trying too hard to keep on living.

But, even in its first few paragraphs the Times displayed several conflicting talking points one being that the nun that serves as the article's initial subject may be uninterested in life saving procedures, but her sister is definitely not of that same opinion. This tends to show that not everyone wants to just wither way and die without fighting to stay alive as the Times seems to be suggesting we should be.

The Times also tries to make a point on how many elderly people "are often overmedicated" and showcases how this nun refused most of the "23 medications not essential for her heart condition," but then adds that these medications were winnowed by a geriatrician. So, was she prescribed these medications or not? It isn't quite clear. This makes a poor case for the claim of overmedication and seems more like an assertion by the writer that is not germane to the case.

The Times goes on to describe how the sisters and several priests along with the church pay for this hospice-like care of those at the end of their lives, the story making it all seem like the perfect system. But one cannot help but realize that we are talking about a system built to serve a small handful of people with the support of the church behind them. How this financial burden can be translated to 300 millions of citizens is never addressed.

Misleadingly, the Times also tries to make it seem as if the church system being described quells any talk of both rationing of care and euthanasia of the elderly.

Laura L. Carstensen, the director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University, says the convent setting calms the tendency for public policy discussion about end-of-life treatment “to devolve into a debate about euthanasia or rationing health care based on age.”

“Every time I speak to a group about the need to improve the dying process, somebody raises their hand and says, ‘You’re talking about killing old people,’ ” Dr. Carstensen said. “But nobody would accuse Roman Catholic sisters of that. They could be a beacon in talking about this without it turning into that American black-and-white way of thinking: Either we have to throw everything we’ve got at keeping people alive or leave them on the sidewalk to die.”

The problem with this rhetoric is that it denies the simple fact that should these concepts become federalized in a national healthcare system, then the patient's choice in the matter will be summarily dispensed with as rules and regulations prescribing procedures will take over.

In short, the second these ideas become the norm, government MUST by necessity of control begin to determine which citizens are "worth" saving and which aren't worth the efforts and should be denied services. And from there it won't be long before prescriptions of euthanasia for those "not worth" the costs of government largess will become de rigueur everywhere.

So, while the process of dying practiced by these nuns described in the Times might have something going for it, translating it to a nationalized healthcare system is fraught with eugenics styled evils.

But, if it soothes suspicions about Obamacare, why the Times is happy to oblige.