At his overproduced, obviously staged health care town hall meeting today in Portsmouth, N.H., President Barack Obama promised a little girl, concerned about the “mean” signs wielded by Nazi-sympathizing septuagenarians protesting government-run health care outside the building, that his plan will not “pull the plug on grandma.”
Hear the audio HERE.
During his answer, Obama mocked the terminology used by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to describe government intervention in end of life care, saying that he doesn’t support a “death panel,” and saying that nobody should worry that end-of-life care decisions would be made by the government “because we decided that it’s too expensive to let [them] live anymore.”
Whew. That’s good to know. Because, back in June, I could have sworn that I heard the president say something completely different about the prospect of government control in end-of-life care.
If you recall, that was the White House health care infomercial so graciously broadcast by the impartial and objective journalists at ABC News.
And then, of course, there were his comments back in April during which he questioned the economic sustainability of a health care system which allows for expensive medical procedures or those Americans already nearing death. From an April 29, 2009 Bloomberg report:
President Barack Obama said his grandmother’s hip-replacement surgery during the final weeks of her life made him wonder whether expensive procedures for the terminally ill reflect a “sustainable model” for health care.
The president’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had a hip replaced after she was diagnosed with cancer, Obama said in an interview with the New York Times magazine that was published today. Dunham, who lived in Honolulu, died at the age of 86 on Nov. 2, 2008, two days before her grandson’s election victory.
“I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost,” Obama said in the interview. “I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother.”
Obama said “you just get into some very difficult moral issues” when considering whether “to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill.
“That’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues,” he said in the April 14 interview. “The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health- care bill out here.”
While I’m certain that the little girl from Massachusetts thanked the president for answering her question, perhaps little Julia, in the waning days of her summer, should have thanked him as well for clarifying his position on end-of-life care (even if she did ask about something completely different). Julia and the rest of us can now rest assured that the government absolutely, positively will not remove grandma from life support because of fiscal concerns — they’ll just deny grandma treatment that could extend her life in an attempt to stem government “waste.”
Given what the president said today and back in June, I am increasingly experiencing difficulty distinguishing the health care reform measures advocated by the president and the Democrats from the Cash For Clunkers program touted as such a success by the same people. Both interfere with the free market. Both would take serviceable, working entities–in one case, a person, while in the other case, a vehicle–and either significantly shorten its life span, or snuff it out altogether. Both would do so in a half-hearted attempt to foster the increased effectiveness that a younger fleet would purportedly bring to America, as well as the cost savings associated with preventing the need for bearing increased costs associated with those entities–cars, humans–as they advance in age.
Unfortunately, the two programs bear another similarity — they don’t apply to Congress. Just as our elected officials on Capitol Hill will not subject themselves to the public option for health care, they refuse to voluntarily turn themselves in at the electoral dealership for newer, younger, more efficient models, despite being in desperate need of oil changes, tune-ups, new tires and an abundance of bodywork.