Synchronized Stealth: Obama’s Department of ‘Death with Dignity’

The current debate over health care is one of those scenarios that might play well in a science-fiction thriller, but must not be allowed to play out on the backs and over the dead bodies of the uninformed. The intent to create a nationalized health-care system appears more and more like a behind-the-scenes project based on government control over who lives and who dies. I might even suggest that nationalized health care’s real purpose is to keep feeding the vultures who prey off the culture of death, instead of keeping Americans healthy.

The problem is what is not occurring right now in the public debate. In other words, what remains unstated has many of us extremely concerned. Obama’s so-called health-care plan, if implemented, could be the most egregious assault on the dignity of the human person since the Supreme Court’s dreadful Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of 1973. Here are a few specifics.

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Dr. McCaughey has written extensively on the dangers of the Obama health-care proposal and its many ramifications. What she has found in the draft now circulating in the House of Representatives is alarming, but apparently interests only a few of those who should be warning the public about it. And their target audience should be those who approaching age 65 and, of course, those who are elderly and needing care. This target audience is going to become the walking target of Obama’s health-care “reform.”

Dr. McCaughey’s detailed research is available on the Defend Your Health Care web site. There you will find explanations of several chilling aspects of the various Obama health-care proposals floating around, including the following excerpt from “Assault on Seniors,” published in the Wall Street Journal:

The House bill shifts resources from specialty medicine to primary care based on the misconception that Americans overuse specialist care and drive up costs in the process (pp. 660-686). In fact, heart-disease patients treated by generalists instead of specialists are often misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. They are readmitted to the hospital more frequently, and die sooner.

“Study after study shows that cardiologists adhere to guidelines better than primary care doctors,” according to Jeffrey Moses, a heart specialist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Adds Jeffrey Borer, chairman of medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center: “Seldom do generalists have the knowledge to identify the symptoms of aortic valve disease, even though more than 10% of people over 75 have it. After valve surgery, patients who were too short of breath to walk can resume a normal life into their 80s or 90s.”

While the House bill being pushed by the president reduces access to such cures and specialists, it ensures that seniors are counseled on end-of-life options, including refusing nutrition where state law allows it (pp. 425-446). In Oregon, the state is denying some cancer patients care that could extend their lives and is offering them physician-assisted suicide instead.

What is perhaps most interesting about Dr. McCaughey, who earned her doctorate in constitutional history, is that those who favor Obama’s health-care reform are vilifying her right and left. Though we know that this is how advocates of death and disrespect for human dignity operate, it is nevertheless disturbing. She has been called a liar, a spinner of tall tales and other terms of endearment, but the information she is providing is readily available from unbiased sources, such as the text of the health-care “reform” bill itself.

Though many claim Obama‘s massive bill is needed, few have actually read it. National Review blogger Jack Fowler actually took the time to present a portion of it in a post titled “Doctor Kevorkian, Call Your Office.” In the bill’s “Advance Care Planning Consultation” section, we read the following:

Such consultation shall include the following:
`(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.
`(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.
`(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.
`(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).
`(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

I could quote much more of this very lengthy section, but the gist is already quite obvious. Why would the government’s health-“CARE” bill include such detailed guidelines for discussion of end-of-life matters, unless it aims to ensure that the elderly and infirm are ready to bite the bullet, even if God is not ready to call them home? It does not take a rocket scientist to question why a “health-care” plan should include such a strong emphasis on not preserving their lives.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, which works closely with the USCCB, have addressed health-care “reform” proposals without noting the gruesome specter of euthanasia that pervades the legislative proposals currently on the table. For example, a recent NCHLA alert makes the following statement:

On July 17, Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, sent a letter to Congress saying: “The USCCB looks forward to working with you to reform health care successfully in a manner that offers accessible, affordable and quality health care that protects and respects the life and dignity of all people from conception until natural death.” Abortion must not be included as part of a national health care benefit.

While it is laudable that the U.S. bishops and their collaborators are crying out for an elimination of abortion funding from the so-called health-care reform proposals, why are they not pointing out the potential for euthanasia as well? Is the plan’s emphasis on ending the lives of the elderly not just as abhorrent as its intent to require Americans to pay for an ever increasing number of abortions? If the answer is yes, then why aren’t the bishops educating Catholics nationwide on the threat these bills pose for people of all ages, from creation until death?

The USCCB stated the following in a document entitled “Making Health Care Reform ‘Abortion Neutral’: What is the Legal Status Quo on Abortion?”:

Health care reform whose goal is to advance health coverage, not advance an agenda on abortion, will take care to be abortion neutral. It will preserve current policies that bar use of taxpayer funds, respect conscience rights, and generally encourage childbirth over abortion; it will not mandate abortion as part of any “basic” or minimum benefit package.

This statement alone is mind-boggling! The USCCB sounds complacent about the fact that the nation is going to have abortion on demand, but by golly, it is upset about health-care “reform” requiring us to pay for it!

In addition, we have found that various diocesan “respect life” offices across America are taking their lead from the July 17 letter issued by Bishop William Murphy, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, which advocates four principles for health-care reform:

• a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;

• access for all with a special concern for the poor and inclusion of legal Immigrants;

• pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and

• restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.

Once again, there is no mention of the encouragement of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide that the Obama plan entails.

I find it laudable beyond words that the USCCB, the participants in the recent  Stop the Abortion Mandate webcast and commentators such as Star Parker have articulated a huge number of Americans’ absolute disdain for considering the aborting of a child as “health care.” However, there must be equally strong opposition to prevent Obama’s “Department of Death with Dignity” from becoming a reality.  Let’s restore respect for human dignity across the full spectrum of a person’s life!

You can encourage the USCCB, NCHLA, similar organizations, national news commentators and media outlets to focus on respect for human dignity at all stages of life, by expressing absolute rejection of all forms of euthanasia—and abortion—in any health-care bills.

News commentators and media outlets are easily located via the internet. The information below is provided to assist you in contacting pro-life organizations.

National Committee for a Human Life Amendment
1500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 24
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-393-0703
www.nchla.org

USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
202-541-3000
www.usccb.org/prolife
prolife@usccb.org

Family Research Council
801 G St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
800-225-4008 (toll-free)
www.frc.org

National Right to Life Committee
512 10th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 626-8800
www.nrlc.org
NRLC@nrlc.org

Priests for Life
P.O. Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
888-735-3448 (toll-free) Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314ox
www.priestsforlife.org
mail@priestsforlife.org

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  • caporasa

    There is nothing inherently wrong with having a living will or assigning a health care proxy. It is prudent to make end-of-life decisions in advance when we have full capacity to make such decisions. An unfortunate “side-effect” of modern advances in technology is having the ability to unnaturally prolong a “natural” death by placing dying patients on a machine (respirator), and repeatedly reviving, either through electrical shock or powerful resuscitative medications, a heart that has stopped beating or can no longer provide for effective pumping function. I would not wish this on my worst enemy, and especially not a loved family member. Of course each case has to be evaluated on an individual bases, and the appropriateness of advanced life support depends on the individual circumstances. As a physician I believe we never have the right to hasten death, even with the intent of minimizing suffering. As a Christian the greatest evil is not suffering (it can be redemptive) and not even death, (St. Paul longed for it) the greatest evil is sin.
    As a citizen I believe in the principle of subsidiarity (as outlined in Catholic social teaching), the less involvement the federal government has in our daily lives the better.

  • markhenry

    Kudos to Judie for pointing the lack of attention given to Abortions evil step-sister – euthanasia. There are a number of possible reasons for this, not the least of which is the HUGE cost savings that hospitals and, yes, Catholic hospitals too, benefit from by turning a blind eye towards euthanasia. Euthanasia takes a huge liability off the health care industry balance sheet, something the beancounters in HMO’s have known for years. The old adage of “follow the money” is appropriate here as the financial incentives for eliminating seniors through euthanasia are irresistable for most players in the health care industry. Is euthanasia is the “sacred cow” of the Catholic Health Association? The CHA’s silence on this issue is deafening. Time for our Bishops to lead with courage and conviction, to defend life not just from cradle but to grave as well.
    Great job Judie!
    Mark Henry, author, finish Faithful

  • jpckcmo

    Thanks to the doctor, above, who echoes my opinion exactly. It is politically convenient to represent the proposed portion of the health care initiative as encouraging people to end their life before they want to. I watched both my parents die, and they were fully informed about the options they had–they both expressed the desire to die with dignity, not to be kept alive through nutrition or through other artificial means. This was a great comfort to me as their child. I am nearing 60, and I want to know ALL the options available to me when the time comes. I see nothing in the above information that would imply that they are encouraging euthanasia. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge we have, the more we have control over our lives and our deaths, not the opposite.

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