September 2, 2009
Kennedy's legacy: Chappaquiddick end-of-life careBy William Tate
Edward Kennedy's death can teach us one thing about ObamaCare. It's not the spin the Big Media wing of the Democrat Party is trying to sell: that Congress should force government-run health care on us, no matter how much we oppose it, as a tribute to Kennedy.
You can bet your grandma's iron lung, though, that under ObamaCare neither she nor you nor I will receive the end-of-life care provided to Kennedy.
The Kennedy fortune, aided by the top-shelf medical plan that members of Congress bestow upon themselves, ensured that Kennedy received the best treatment possible for his brain cancer. As even he wrote in a Newsweek essay, "I have enjoyed the best medical care money (and a good insurance policy) can buy."
It is worth noting that Senator Kennedy remained in the country for that treatment, despite the invective that supporters of health care reform like to hurl at the U.S. medical system. Instead of some foreign land with supposedly superior health care, Kennedy travelled for his treatment all the way to ... North Carolina.
According to an August 28 article at Medscape, Kennedy was most likely treated with three drugs; the costs for each of the drug regimens run, at minimum, well into five figures. This does not include the expense of MRI's and other tests, hospitalization, transportation to North Carolina, radiation and other follow-up care, more drugs to ease pain and side effects, and surgery performed by one of the most skilled brain surgeons in the world.
Think grandma's gonna receive that kind of treatment under ObamaCare?
Barack Obama has pledged to fund the public option under the Democrats' power grab by raiding Medicare, but Medicare is already broke and needs fixing. As of this year, the program is spending more money than it brings in, and will be incapable of paying its already-existing obligations within a few years.
Yet, even with baby-boomers about to flood Medicare, and with millions of other folks about to join his proposed federal health system, Obama still insists he'll fund nationalized health care by slashing Medicare expenses.
Where will Obama's Medicare cuts come from?
One is reminded of Willie Sutton's line about robbing banks "because that's where the money is."
"(A)bout 27% of Medicare's annual $327 billion budget goes to care for patients in their final year of life," according to USA Today. It is debatable whether some treatments add to the quality, or length, of life.
Even with the best care in the world, Keith Black, MD, chairman and professor of neurosurgery at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center told Medscape that Ted Kennedy's survival of 15 months after diagnosis was "right on the median."
Are we to think then that, under the health care system pushed by Barney Frank and other liberals, federal paper-pushers, pressured to cut costs, are going to look at actuarial charts and approve Kennedyesque treatment for all of us?
Well, Barney, What planet are you from?
Whether you want to call the federal decision makers that ObamaCare will inevitably create death panels or bean counters, they will be the folks who decide what is paid for under ObamaCare. And if they don't actually pull the plug on Grandma, they'll be rationing the electricity.
Democrats have proposed that health care reform legislation be named after Kennedy, to memorialize his voluminous efforts for nationalized health care. If so, conservatives should take note of another, darkly appropriate chapter of Kennedy's life and demand that any end-of-life provisions be called the Mary Jo Kopechne Rider.
Wlliam Tate is an award-winning journalist and author