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Paul Strickland: Save our seniors, Pt. 2

Right Here Right Now

Posted: August 20, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: August 20, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal views. I am writing as a private citizen, and not as an appointed or elected official.

I'm still receiving a lot of e-mail about Obamacare. No matter how it has been repackaged and renamed by Congress, the Health Care Reform Act continues to leave a bad taste in the mouths of most Americans.

The original bill, HR 3200, contained more than 1,000 pages and was pushed quickly through Congress by the Obama administration, essentially before legislators or anyone else had time to read it.

A little scrutiny, however, revealed that Section 1233, called "Advance Care Planning Consultation," required health care practioner/patient counseling every five years, and annually if they became sick or were in a nursing home. The consultations for aging adults included living wills and offered end-of-life services.

According to subtitle 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, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses and state legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965)."

Yes sir, pages 425-430 aroused the old folks, and derailed the steamroller legislation.

I'm curious about the definition of "advance care planning clearinghouses." It sounds like the same "farm" to which my parents sent my old dog Duke who could hardly walk and my cat Lucky who became blind and feeble. Rationing by any other name is still rationing.

The practioner is required to explain "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." Palliative care is lawyer-speak for making the person comfortable without trying to cure the cause of the ailment - in other words, a faster path to death.

On Aug. 19, 2009, the Catholic News Agency stated, "many have expressed concern that Section 1233 of HR 3200 gives doctors an incentive to persuade ill patients that assisted suicide is the best option."

Jennifer Popik, a National Right to Life ethics attorney, called it "extremely troubling that Compassion and Choices (formerly The Hemlock Society), the principal group that promotes physician-assisted suicide throughout the country, is not only aggressively promoting these provisions, but claims responsibility for the inclusion in the main provision. Section 1233 allows assisted suicide and euthanasia to be promoted as an option in the places where it is legal (i.e. Washington, Oregon and Montana)."

The language used in HR 3200 is so confusing that only a bank of lawyers, and ultimately the judicial system, will likely decide the intended meaning. It clearly goes well beyond the Constitution's definition of what the federal government's role should be.

Besides, Congress voted against dropping its own health insurance for HR 3200. That ought to tell us something.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that in a faltering economy with double-digit unemployment and Social Security, Medicare and social programs going broke that the establishment of a national health care system might be used by Big Government as a fix.

In 1961, when the Democrats were trying to force socialized medicine down our throats, Ronald Reagan said: "One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project."

No amount of media-driven pooh-poohing by the left has persuaded mainstream Americans that their fear of government-controlled health care is unfounded. Most of us can't fathom how another massive, intrusive government-run system will work when the others are essentially bankrupt.

Of course, the real drain on our economy is not our own senior citizens living longer than Social Security was designed to support. It is the government's apparent inability to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing our borders to take advantage of our social programs, free education and way of life.

What a whacky world this is! The federal government gives 12-20 million illegal immigrants access and benefits, refuses to complete the wall on our southern border and allows gangs and drug traffickers to invade our country. Yet, this same government proposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and "end-of-life counseling" for its own senior population. This isn't apples and oranges. It's just plain fruity.

Additionally odd is that for the first time since 1975, American Social Security recipients received no cost-of-living increase in 2010; all the while national legislators continued to dole out hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars to unknown entities.

While there is a multitude of fastrack-to-single-payer-health care system issues under the large umbrella of HR 3200, I have focused here on Section 1233. The bill has morphed into the less encompassing bills HR 3962 and HR 3590 (signed into law on March 23).

The ultimate goal of the progressive socialists, however, still remains to be the contents spelled out in HR 3200. Stay tuned.

Paul B. Strickland Sr. is a resident of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among several local Republican writers.

 

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