Palin v. ObamaCare

Palin v. ObamaCare

By J. R. Dunn

Once again we’re presented with evidence that the health-care debate is occurring without adequate attention being paid to the record of established nationalized health-care systems overseas.

This has arisen as a result of Sarah Palin’s superb maneuver in forcing the administration to drop Section 1233 of the ObamaCare act, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.” Section 1233, which we might as well call the “Let’s Wrap it Up” clause, calls for “planning sessions” for Medicare clients in which the “continuum of end-of-life services and supports available” would be explained in detail. This “continuum” includes “palliative and hospice care”, but is unlikely to be limited to that. Palin accused the administration of opening the door to euthanasia, with Section 1233 amounting to a first step toward “death panels” making life-and-death decisions amounting to such action.


Last week Section 1233 was dropped in toto. Palin forced this result through a single Facebook posting, a stroke that if carried out by anyone else but Lady Deerslayer would have been praised far and wide as masterful. But instead we got the usual attacks on Palin’s personality, intelligence, and motives. In large part this involved such usual suspects as the mass media, Huffington Post-type blogs, and Obama himself. But center-right figures were also heard from, including (inevitably) David Frum. If Palin were to save the planet from alien invasion, Frum would have something kind to say for the invaders. But the editors of National Review were also critical in their customary indirect way:


“To conclude… that President Obama’s favored legislation will lead to “death panels” deciding whose life has sufficient value to be saved – let alone that Obama desires this outcome – is to leap across a logical canyon.”


In fact, it’s no leap whatsoever, as would be apparent to anyone who has been paying serious attention, as opposed to media-level attention, to the problem of health care. The British National Health Service, the mother of all nationalized health systems, has had what amounts to a “death panel” system since 2005. Under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act, patients unable to communicate with hospital personnel are considered to be “due to die” and are removed from all forms of life support, including  food and water. In other words, given the same treatment meted out to Terry Schiavo.


The most notorious recent case involving this act occurred last year when Mrs. Ellen Westwood, an 88-year-old retiree, entered Birmingham’s Selly Oak hospital for shoulder surgery. While recovering she caught the inevitable iatrogenic “superbug” infection, a daily occurrence in British hospitals, and one which costs up to 30,000 lives a year. Without further ado, the Selly Oak doctors declared Mrs. Westwood “due to die” and began the process of shutting her down.


But the Westwood family refused to cooperate. After demanding that treatment be resumed, they were threatened with law enforcement action and effectively chased from the hospital. Returning with another doctor, they obtained a second opinion and had their mother released into their care. Once home, she recovered in short order and survives to this day.
How many times the Westwood story has been repeated remains unclear — it’s not, after all, something that the NHS would be willing to boast about. But it appears undeniable that “due to die” is standard procedure within the NHS system. Nor is it limited to older patients. There are several cases on record in which mentally disabled individuals have been left to die under the same circumstances: a girl whose easily-treated cancer was allowed to metastasize without treatment, a man whose broken leg festered to the point of infection and death, and a middle-aged man who was starved to death over the period of a month after suffering a stroke. That last individual’s disability was Down syndrome, the same suffered by young Trig Palin.


“Such a system,” to quote Governor Palin, “is downright evil.” The connection between the Mental Capacity Act and Section 1233 are easily grasped. In this country today, a simple line exists. There are certain things you are not allowed to do. Once that terminus is erased, there is nothing to stop society from sliding into straightforward euthanasia, as has occurred in the UK. Forget any talk about “guidelines” or “safeguards”; they did not help Terry Schiavo, they did not help Ellen Westwood, they did not help the unnamed retarded man dying of starvation in his lonely bed. Quite simply, they are not meant to.


Why euthanasia is so critical to the progressive project is not so easy to grasp, but it is undeniable all the same. Consider the “Project on Death in America” established by George Soros. Funded in large part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this project was intended to promote palliative care as a method of dealing with end-of-life challenges, but somehow transformed itself into an exercise in promoting euthanasia in hospitals, hospices, and medical centers nationwide. (The Soros death project is covered in detail in my upcoming book Death by Liberalism. Be sure to order two copies — one for yourself, and one for mom to read during that lengthy upcoming hospital stay.)


The impulse toward euthanasia is already active in American culture. Sarah Palin understands this, as Obama, Pelosi, Romney, and sadly, the editors of the National Review do not. Through the elimination of Section 1233, Palin has accomplished more for this country than any of those people ever have or are likely to do. This action will loom very large in the legend of Sarah Palin. From here on, Palin is no longer simply a politician; she’s on her way to becoming a historical figure. We await her next actions with fascination.

Page Printed from: at August 20, 2009 – 10:00:03 AM EDT


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