Monday, August 10, 2009

Is One "Death Panel" Better Than Another?

When I saw Don’t talk to me about death panels, Sarah Palin by Southern Beale at Memeorandum I expected ugliness but I wasn’t prepared for what I read when I clicked on the link.

You, who so carelessly bolstered a lie about healthcare reform to score a cheap political point; you, the most craven of political opportunists, who fearmongers about some dystopian socialist/fascist fantasyland; you, who earlier this year were only too happy to accept free medical, dental and veterinary care from the U.S. military for Alaska’s remote villages; you, dear lady, are an idiot.

At first glance, my reaction was what a vile, nasty person Southern Beale must be. But I read on.

You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

Southern Beale faced something that no one should have to face. The death of a loved one is unbearable. She is angry because restrictions written into her mother’s insurance policy left her with little choice. If I were in her shoes, I would be angry as well.

My day came ten years ago. My father suffered a series of devastating strokes. The doctor told my mother and I that his chance of survival was almost non-existent. They could try the “clot buster” but if, big if, it worked, my father would be brain damaged and at least partially paralyzed. It was a horrible decision to make. My father had a Living Will but my mother didn’t want to giver her husband up.

I love my father very much and thank God that I didn’t have an insurance company telling me what my decision would be. I thank God that I have my dad for ten years longer than I would have had the decision been taken out of my hands. I can only begin to imagine how hurt and angry Southern Beale must be.

What I don’t understand is why Southern Beale would take that decision out of the family’s hands and give it to the government. I am not against insurance reform but for my dad I’ll be damned if I will support ObamaCare.


Dave said...

I love my father very much and thank God that I didn’t have an insurance company telling me what my decision would be

I'm curious as to what kind of healthcare your father had if he did not have private insurance.

Carol said...

Dave, my father did, and does have private insurance. At no point has he had his coverage limited. Since his stroke he has had a hip replacement and been treated for colon cancer.

I am aware that not all insurance policies are equal but why should the government determine who receives care?