Monday, December 27, 2010

Live or Let Die?

Deciding what to do at the end of one’s life is not the decision of any government bureaucracy. It is an individual choice that is a painful and difficult decision for both the individual facing that decision and the family members of that individual that must live with the loss.

The fact is we are all going to die. Some of us will die unexpectedly, others will die naturally, and for some the end of life becomes so painful and agonizing decisions on how much longer they will live can be the catalyst for ethical and moral clashes. Some people that have been fighting cancer or other debilitating diseases are often in circumstances that become unbearable for that individual. Quietly they choose to move on to the next life and concede the battle. It is generally a peaceful process that is comforted with some of the wonderful drugs that have enabled us to ease the pain of our loved ones.

In some cases family members struggle to accept the inevitable process of dying and interject their own desire and selfishness to keep their loved one around through extra ordinary measures. Even when individual patients have DNR orders (Do Not Resuscitate) it is not unusual for family members to intercede and frantically request their love one be “saved”. This is not for the benefit of the patient but rather a guilt or unresolved issue with the family member. It is a very personal experience and every family works it out every day across this country. Rarely is the decision made based on money, it is usually the reality that the family member has made their peace with the world.

Healthcare and dying are personal. The dignity of patients and their families is paramount. There is no place in this decision for a federal government bureaucrat. But that is what is happening. Through the use of “incentives” for doctors to either be financially efficient or utilize specific programs that reduce the cost of maintaining the elderly, the federal government has worked their way into that very personal relationship between a patient, doctor, and family. The efforts of the federal government to influence a doctor’s decision on care, especially end of life care is not only unconstitutional it is morally appalling.

Healthcare has been hijacked by the government and insurance companies by creating a false marketplace that has no built in mechanisms to control itself. Just as it is a personal decision as to whether or not I purchase health insurance, it is a personal choice, and my individual right to liberty how I decide to manage the end of my life. I am not talking about promoting assisted suicide; I am promoting individual freedom and liberty. I don’t need the morality police or the federal bureaucrat deciding any aspect of my private care. I can choose to fight cancer with all of my power and resources or I can choose to save my resources and allow the natural outcome of my decision. Every individual should have that right. It may be uncomfortable for some but freedom is a very uncomfortable but undeniable right.

That is why I am vehemently against government in the healthcare industry. We need more private market incentives in the basics of healthcare allowing for a better market to develop for end of life care. We are all going to die whether we want to face it or not. But the federal government should not be impacting that aspect of our lives in any way. It is not only unconstitutional - it will end up being a criminal enterprise if allowed to continue. You mark my words…

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