Pulling the Plug

I remember following the various commentaries during the Clinton era health care debate. What was so then, is still true. The conversation is all about financing. Paying for covering everybody, cutting costs in an industry in which technological and pharmaceutical costs just keep growing. On its face, those are great objectives. Just, notice no conversation about what is fairly well documented to be a mediocre to poor performance in terms of the actual delivery itself.

A medical doctor writing in the New York Times Op-Ed section back then wrote, "The American health care system is very good at keeping sick people alive." That statement stuck with me and I hear it from time to time from other sources. Please, when something is broken, there is nothing better than modern medicines and technologies. But, in the main, we are the most medicated and technologically advanced society with, arguably, the least to show for it.

Which brings me to the point. If the general culture is one in which profits come first, and it's every man for himself, then doesn't it seem possible that a system that keeps sick people alive might decide to not want to do that any more? In other words, why spend so much money to keep a dying person alive. Dr. Kevorkian sounded the opening bell. "My dear patient, there's nothing medically that I can do for you. Why don't you kill yourself and save everyone the trouble."

When you add in a generation of adults schooled since childhood to avoid strangers, the ethos could evolve where so called "death panels" could become a reality. Factor in the growing eugenics industry where you can in-utero do a genetic profile on the fetus. If we see something nasty, abort.

So, when grandma's medical condition and costs to keep her alive get nasty, let's pull the plug.

After all, it makes perfect fiscal sense. And, grandma isn't any longer a viable contributor to the economy anyway. Nothing personal, just business.

It could happen.

Here is a scene from Critical Care, a movie that puts a great satirical spin on the subject. And, another.

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