Wednesday, May 10

Care for the Uninsurable

Care for the Uninsurable
Do you know that we now have the equipment and expertise to keep a person alive indefinitely? Maybe not REALLY alive, but with vital signs indicative that life still exists.

I wouldn’t want that. My wife and I have living wills, directing our mate and family to refuse any extraordinary measures to keep us alive after an illness or injury that incapacitates us, without a hope of recovery. To do otherwise would not only be a drain on our family’s limited resources, it would also take years off her life taking care of me, or the other way around. Why? So that I can lie there and vegetate, incapable of speaking, understanding, even feeding myself for months into years? No, thank you.

You know where I am headed with this, don’t you?

Jimmy Kimmel made a passionate plea for the continuation of Obamacare in discussing his own child born with a severe heart defect. My heart goes out to him and his family. According to Jimmy, however, had the Affordable Care Act not been enacted, there would have been no help for his child. Very moving story—full of half-truths and even lies, but very impassioned.

When is the last time you have heard of a baby being thrown out of a hospital or denied emergency medical treatment because it was born with a devastating, life-threatening abnormality? Go on; take your time; try to recall any instance remotely like that. I’ll wait.

Okay, are you finished? How many?

None. Neither the law nor common decency would permit it.

A more pertinent argument might be whether the child born with a terrible defect gets the very latest, most expensive treatment  available and ultra-Herculean efforts to sustain life for as long as possible.  Damn the cost—that child must live!!

You may believe that every child deserves that kind of treatment—no child is any more valuable than the next, right? Rich or poor, black or white, brilliant or intellectually challenged. Let’s consider that for a moment.

The plain fact is, we cannot afford to give that kind of treatment, free of charge, to all comers—from the United States or any other nation, because surely you would agree that Japanese or Egyptian or Brazilian or Australian or French or English children are just as valuable as our own American babies. Don’t you? Oh, I can just hear some few of you saying, “Wait, now. We have to draw a line somewhere!”

Ah, there’s the rub. Nobody except Nancy Pelosi believes that the American taxpayer should or could foot the bill for the latest, greatest and most expensive health care for everybody on earth. So we must have some method of limiting access to the very best of care—which, by the way, can be found . . . Where? . . . I forget. Is it France? No. Is it Canada? No. Is it England? No. Russia? Greece? Japan? Italy? Germany? No, no, no, no and no. The best health care in the world is found in the United States of America, precisely because we have thus far not allowed the government total management of that vital one-sixth of our economy.

No country, regardless how wealthy, can provide free health care to an unlimited number of people whose illness or malady, while desperate and needful of care,  could cost the taxpayers upward of $1,000,000 a year or more—per patient! That is a sad reality. Hospitals and E R’s are required to administer what aid is necessary to keep a patient alive; to do everything humanly possible to treat them—up to a point. But if the cost of that care exceeds the patient or patient’s family’s ability to pay and they do not have the insurance or personal wealth to cover such costly care, what is to be done? Reasonable people might then say those extraordinary efforts must be curtailed. Not just for John Doe or his child or grandchild, but for the progeny of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, Ted Turner or anyone else of wealth and power. I must say if those people have the wherewithal to purchase such treatment out of their own wealth, we have no right to deny them the privilege of spending their money in that way. Do we?

If anyone in your life has ever told you that life is fair, they either didn’t know what they were talking about, or they flat-out lied to you. Even our courts informed us in the 1970s that all Americans are equal, but . . . In certain circumstances, some are more equal than others. Remember Affirmative Action? More recently, these same courts have decreed that motivation can be a huge factor in the sentence one gets for commission of a crime. I’m not sure how you can fine-tune emotion to reach that determination, but if you are deemed to have been motivated by “hate” to murder someone, your sentence may be vastly more severe than if you, say, killed a guy that you liked. Does that make sense to you? The victim is dead in either instance, and I doubt that he is going to rejoice in his grave because a jury adjudged the crime to have been motivated by hatred. It won’t bring him back to life! And you can only put the perpetrator to death once. He can’t even twice serve his entire life in prison. Once is all you get.

But I digress. There are some serious problems we will be required to face in the not-too-distant future—as soon as we figure out how harmful political correctness has been to our nation and quit allowing secular humanists to set our entire agenda.  In order to address these issues, we must first acknowledge that we have a problem. THIS—the insurance for those with un-insurable diseases/maladies—is just one of them. Insurance for them, as you might imagine, is very expensive. Not many of us can afford it. We can, by working with a pool of like “un-insurable patients”, obtain catastrophic insurance—still expensive, but shared by a larger pool of those with the same or similar problems, costing much less than trying to buy an individual policy.

Bottom line is, we have finite resources to handle what could rapidly become an overwhelming need—or want; there is a difference. Let me say again—while it is unpleasant either to say or to hear, the plain fact is we cannot afford to pay for the health care of all those who 1) simply don’t want to purchase it for themselves, 2) are in this country illegally and have thus far not even been asked to pay for their insurance OR treatment, in some states, and 3) also provide the most expensive services in the world to a multitude of un-insurable patients.

Does political correctness allow us to consider the cause of a patient’s super-expensive malady? Can we offer less coverage to the man who smokes two or three packages of cigarettes while his lungs are eaten up with cancer? How about the alcoholic who continues drinking although he has cirrhosis of the liver? Or the promiscuous homosexual who through dangerous dating habits contracts aids? These are self-inflicted, in a sense. Are the taxpayers on the hook for all expenses related to their maladies? You see, it is easy to be compassionate regarding a baby born with a defect not of its own doing. Can we recognize the difference and make allowances therefore? You see, while secular humanists have tried hard to erase it, the fact remains, the are consequences to our actions.

We can do what many other nations have done: We can provide what may be good but is also necessarily rationed health care to our citizens. That route will inevitably lead to less research and development, a disincentive to try new methods, a loss of patient-doctor relations and a much poorer product. Sure, it might be “free”. But the participant gives up much freedom to obtain what is neither truly free nor effective.

 I do not regard the advice of Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the founders of Obamacare, who sees no reason to live past seventy or so; you ostensibly have little or nothing to offer society, so you might as well die. 

President Obama told a woman in July of 2009 that perhaps her mother, with a serious heart condition, ‘may be better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the pain pill’.

No, I do not intend to go quietly to my grave, although when my time does come, would that I could mimic the actions of an old ranch hand I read about years ago.

This fellow had worked as a cowboy for the same man since his teens. He and his boss grew old together. The old cowboy was married, and as he saddled up his horse and left the house on a typical morning shortly after his 80th birthday, he said his usual goodbye to his wife and headed off, supposedly to ride the fence line. When he did not come home that day and stayed out all night, his wife contacted the ranch owner to let him know her husband was missing.

They found the old cowboy on the south forty, lying on his back with his hat over his chest, hands folded beneath it. They first thought he had fallen off his horse, but that was quickly discounted. This man was practically born on a horse. He left no note, but his wife and employer knew what had happened. He had simply concluded his time had come, and he just lay down in the pastures he loved and allowed his soul to leave his body. He didn’t need end-of-life counseling. He knew intuitively that death is a perfectly natural end to the life cycle.

I would hope to have the courage and the faith in God to face my death with that kind of magnanimity.  We can only forestall death for a season. It will come to all of us—unless Christ’s return precedes it. Until that time comes, I’m going to try to live life in the most politically incorrect way possible.

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