Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ryan budget proposal might inspire more discussion of pulling the plug on grandma

The Republican House proposal to cut the deficit focuses a lot of cuts on Medicaid and nursing home care. This will likely bring back a "pull the plug on grandma" discussion, which pestered the Obama people during debate about health care reform. This time, the discussion can come back with a vengeance. It can pester Republicans and possibly soften the illogical alliance between fiscal conservatives and right to life groups.

Within this discussion are also real questions about the value of life under certain circumstances. Is life really worth living, if one is confined to a nursing home bed and will most likely be dead soon anyway? What about the cost of keeping babies with severe birth defects alive? To add even more fire to the discussion, what about the cost of taking care of all the children that can be dealt with in a more cost effective way through abortion?

I'm not necessarily proposing anything here. I'm just saying that these questions are part of the discussion.

Ideally, end of life decisions should be left to the patient and those close to the patient such as family members and doctors. Carefully crafted right to die legislation has passed in several states such as Oregon and Washington. These laws are compassionately written with the goal to reduce suffering. Republicans often oppose these measures.

Questioning the value of being alive does, of course, put one on a slippery slope. Some fear that it's treading too close for comfort to thinking that the Nazis had.

Still, this line of discussion is happening and like it or not, the economic situation will add to it. If nothing else, it is likely to make Republicans, especially those with ties to right to life constituents, very uncomfortable.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Another thing the Medicade cuts might do, which wouldn't be as much like euthanasia as pulling the plug, would be to reduce the inheritance that some children get from their parents. Estates would have to pay the bills for nursing home care and so forth before the inheritors get any money.

This may all but make things like Quitclaim deeds illegal in these circumstances.

Maybe they will have to do some of these kind of things as they do have to do something about the rising costs of health care.