Death panels, as we all know, are a crazy thing that Sarah Palin and the British nationalized health care system made up. They can’t possibly happen here because the same government that used to carry out medical experiments on syphilis patients would never do something like that.
A government-funded “mortality index” study – which helps doctors determine whether a patient has a “good chance” of dying within the next 10 years – raises renewed concerns about health-care rationing under Obamacare.
The researchers say their 12-item index is mostly for use by doctors. It can help them decide whether costly health screenings or medical procedures are worth the risk for patients unlikely to live 10 more years.
The index provides doctors with 12 measures to assign points to an elderly patient. The lower the patient’s total points, the better his or her odds of survival. The highest score, 26 points, represents a 95-percent chance the patient will die within 10 years.
The index assigns all male subjects 2 points automatically because men on the average have a lower life expectancy than women, the study noted. Men and women aged between 60 and 64 get 1 point; ages 70 and 74 get 3 points, while 85 or over get 7 points.
Two points are further assigned in the following cases: Patients with a current or a previous cancer diagnosis, excluding minor skin cancers; lung disease impacting on physical activity or requiring oxygen; heart failure; smoking; difficulty bathing; difficulty managing money because of health or memory problems; difficulty walking several blocks. One point is assigned to those with diabetes or high blood sugar; difficulty pushing a large object; being thin or of abnormal weight.
So if you’re a man who has trouble pushing large objects, you get a ticket closer to the head of the line, as the system moves closer and closer to quantifying just who is worth saving and who isn’t.
Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother and a White House advisor on health care, had some “for the good of the many” ideas.
“This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources.
Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed.
Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic.
Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”
No death panels to see here. That’s just crazy talk.