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The Twisted Morality of Death Panels

Breaking down Slate's rationalization for letting government pick who lives and who dies.

Walter Hudson


October 23, 2013 - 9:00 am
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Canada has death panels – and that’s a good thing. So reads a headline at Slate, where author Adam Goldenberg defends letting a government committee intervene in healthcare to decide who lives and who dies.

The death panel Goldenberg refers to is Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, a unique institution among Canada’s jurisdictions which holds the legal authority to supersede healthcare decisions made by next of kin when a patient lays incapacitated.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled in favor of a family seeking to sustain the life of Hassan Rasouli, who fell victim to complications from brain surgery and has remained comatose for three years. Goldenberg writes:

In Canada, with our single-payer health care system, Rasouli’s situation has a very public bottom line: Should taxpayers foot the bill for his family’s indefinite goodbye?

But American critics of Canadian health care will declare that merely asking this question is unacceptable, unethical, even unthinkable—and that it proves that the Canadian system gives doctors a dangerous incentive to kill off their patients as quickly as possible. They are wrong. The Hippocratic Oath’s promise to do no harm still applies. But they are also only wrong in part. When taxpayers provide only a finite number of acute care beds in public hospitals, a patient whose life has all but ended, but whose family insists on keeping her on life support, is occupying precious space that might otherwise house a patient whose best years are still ahead.

The incentives in the American health care system point in the opposite direction. In the United States, keeping an all-but-dead patient alive on life support in a hospital bed generates income for the hospital, for as long as its bills get paid.

Everything wrong with the Left’s view of economics, morality, and healthcare in particular can be observed in that passage. Goldenberg’s analysis ignores any consideration of individual rights.

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Top Rated Comments   
Leftist bureaucrats will first check a person's political affiliation prior to deciding if they get health care or not.
The "phony" IRS scandal proved that Leftist bureaucrats will break the law and look to harm anyone they feel is a threat to the march to socialism.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"unavoidable failure of socialism--it requires that I care more about strangers than about loved ones."

The impossibilty of socialism can be observed by simply taking a drive on any highway at rush hour. Let me describe a scene that every one of you has no doubt seen.

A multilane road is forced to constrict by something... perhaps there's been an accident, perhaps the road narrows, maybe they're doing work on a lane. Two miles in advance of the constriction one can see warning signs. Many of us, perhaps even most of us, shuffle over to the remaining lane right away. But still we find ourselves sitting in traffic. Why? Because an awful lot of people zip down the soon-to-be-closed lane and insist on merging at the last minute. They create a bottleneck and reduce traffic to a crawl. And for what? The perceived benefit of a minute or two shaved off their travel time. They may not think of themselves as doing so but they are definitely acting against the interests of the community (ie all the other drivers) in order to maximize a benefit for themselves.

If so many people can't be relied upon to give up the miniscule "benefit" of a couple of car-lengths worth of highway for the greater good then how on Earth can they be expected to give up medical care, money, food or anything else?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A well argued position - and a prescient warning for those who see Canada as the "model" for a single-payer health care system. What is ironic is these same "reasoned" journalist's can never imagine themselves in the same quandary - like they've found some fountain of youth and will never grow infirm.

An interesting exercise might be to test their consistency on these issues, which can be categorized as follows:

Pro abortion -- absolutely
Pro right to die -- of course
Pro death penalty - hell no
Pro nuclear -- no way
Pro war -- greatest evil visited upon mankind
Guns -- horrible tools of oppression
Global warming -- their greatest fear

The only consistent thing that comes out this menagerie of leftist positions is that they love death, hate life, and live in fear while despising the same "freedom of choice" they loudly advocate for.
The jihadi's and lefty's have the same outlook.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (65)
All Comments   (65)
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my best friend's step-mother makes $88/hour on the laptop. She has been without work for 10 months but last month her pay was $14500 just working on the laptop for a few hours. this article ......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
my classmate's step-mother makes $61 an hour on the internet. She has been without work for ten months but last month her payment was $13315 just working on the internet for a few
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As always, it comes down to a question of power. As always, those in power don't realize how that power will be used.
What happens when 'The Other Guys'(The Evil Ones) win elections? What happens when some different flavor of Leftism win elections?
What happens when that stick you just gave to the government is used to beat you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Canadian healthcare---useful as a category, but please show you have the least knowledge to make what remain universally viable points. Ontario healthcare opened the discussion. Healthcare is a provincial responsibility. Yet, the federal government has tried to move in adding provincial dependency and poor choices based on money that will not always be there. Because people think health care dollars grow on trees, overspending will flourish and lead to the state mandating end of life decisions.

One can generalize about Canadians, though, they all like our similar provincial (and all federally topped-up) systems, and do not recognize the predictable results a single payer system must produce - rationing.

The cause may be low-quality citizenry
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Still, the law recognizes that, though it is usually in the patient’s best interests to be kept alive, it is not always so....Goldenburg

Says the fool who doesn't believe it'll ever affect him, or his family.

These panels have far greater reach than just the time of death.. Similar ones decide wether to pay for certain medications or treatments for the chronically ill or long term injured.

Any system which imposes it's will and judgement between family and physician, is an evil thing.

Because the collective will always be a dumb selfish beast with the compassion of a shark, and the good will of a death camp guard. Palin was right..

and even after admitting these panels exist, there'll be no mass public apology from the people who wanted them..

In private insurance, their was always an appeal, always someone higher up to say,... no,.. let's worry about the patient first, not the cost. Inside, then outside the company, always a higher appeal..

Not with this..

The government decides, you should shut up and suffer or die..

where do you go for someone to act on your behalf? Certainly not the media, with Slate telling you..

"shut up.. die already"...

and their families?

exempted off course, the connected left always are.. Being an apparatchik has to have some rewards right?.. slapping down the politically impure is just one of their perks, and a hobby,.. a vocation..religious act..

They aren't about granting everyone healthcare insurance.. because they sure couldn't give less of a damn about the hundreds of thousands loosing their coverage right now..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And our IPAB will do the same thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The left selling Obamacare: Death Panels—“utterly absurd . . .laughable.” Obamacare in practice: “why of course we need death panels; after all, the Canadians have them.” The one thing about the Left (liberals and progressives) you can always count on is their consistency: they always lie when the write or speak.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Give the guy a break,
He's young and stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You think we don't have rationing now? Get in line for a liver or a heart. You will be evaluated and a "death panel" will decide who gets the next one. Any time demand exceeds supply, there will be rationing. In a free market system, that is done by price . The price rises until those who can't afford it drop out of line. In our system, insurance premiums rise until there is enough money to pay for the services. We are at the point where people cannot pay and are falling out of line.

In a controlled system, and our system will always be somewhat controlled, some entity, a board, a panel, a tsar, is delegated the authority to "decide who lives and who dies."

It is a slam dunk that the health care system will run out of money. They all do. Demand is relatively infinite. Supply of money is not. The bureaucrats will make the decisions. In our government, where Liberal Scum infest the government, expect the decisions to be made on political and ideological grounds.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
except organ "rationing" is now done on supposedly sound medical reasoning (iow which patient will have the longest use of the donor organ, the 70 year old alcoholic diabetic or the 25 year old college athlete whose only vice is taking a few too many vitamin pills), rather than who's going to be the biggest tax payer for the planned life of the organ, or who's the most likely to be your next campaign contributor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have one standard answer to the argument, "Okay, you first."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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