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Barry and the Feeding Tube


This picture, via Maggie’s Farm, is trump on the Failed Obama Administration’s™ prevaricating about the government deciding who is fit to live:

Obama pressing the “kill” button on Terry Schiavo

Yes, it is “over the top”. But it makes the point plain, while staying true to the reasoning behind it.

Schiavo was alive. The government, through courts applying law, decided her life was no longer worth supporting. Rather than follow its duty to protect the life of a person unable to express her own will, the government allowed Schiavo to be starved to death.

Without explicitly using the term “Death Panel” in the legislation, the Federal government intends to insert itself into these situations, making the choice of continuing care not on the family’s ability to pay, but on a bureaucratic calculation of cost.

As Barry has said, such end-of-life choices are being made already. They are being made by the dying and the families of the dying. As human dignity demands.

Barry wants us to hear that evil, penny-pinching insurance companies are making the decisions. The insurers are only deciding about funding, not living or dying. Government-backed medical care erases this critical distinction. Schiavo had the money. The case revolved around whether or not her husband would be allowed to “pull the plug” and use the money for something else.

Schiavo showed that the root of the issue is not money, but the sanctity of life:

During the 20th Democratic presidential debate Tuesday [in 2008], U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said the one vote he would take back was his 2005 U.S. Senate vote to help save the life of Terri Schiavo, a brain-injured Florida woman.

"We adjourned with a unanimous agreement that eventually allowed Congress to interject itself into that decision-making process of the families," Obama said. "It wasn't something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped. And I think that was a mistake."

During an April 2007 debate, he said: "I think professionally the biggest mistake that I made was when I first arrived in the Senate. There was a debate about Terri Schiavo, and a lot of us, including me, left the Senate with a bill that allowed Congress to intrude where it shouldn't have.”

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said Obama has been disingenuous.

"How can Obama reconcile his cavalier dismissal of Terri Schiavo's predicament as a 'family matter,' when he has stated he wants to appoint judges who are 'going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don't have a lot of clout'?

As government-backed health care drives private medical providers from the marketplace—an inescapable consequence—the separation between the ability to pay and the ability to live will disappear. Only the richest of future Schiavos will be able to buy life support. Insurers will actually benefit from not having to pay out long-term settlements that prolong lives.

Nat Hentoff wrote [emphasis mine]:

By contrast, in all of this inflamed controversy, the mainstream media performed miserably, copying each other's errors instead of doing their own investigations of what Terri's wishes actually were. Consequently, most Americans did not know that 29 major national disability-rights organizations filed legal briefs and lobbied Congress to understand that this was not a right-to-die case, but about the right to continue living.

Among them were:

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association; the National Down Syndrome Congress; the World Association of Persons with Disabilities; Not Dead Yet; and the largest American assembly of disability-rights activists, the American Association of People with Disabilities. AAPD's head, Andrew J. Imparato, has testified before the Senate that: "When we start devaluing the lives of people with disabilities, we don't know where that's going to stop. You also need to take into account the financial implications of all of this. We have an economy that is not doing as well as it once was and ... one way to save money is to make it easier for people with disabilities to die."