Human Exceptionalism

Libs the Real Toss Grandma Off Cliffers

The above embedded political ad accuses Rep. Paul Ryan of wanting to “throw grandma off a cliff,” for proposing needed Medicare reforms, none of which would impact current recipients. (Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden has now joined with Ryan in a compromise proposal. More on that sometime.) But Obamacare cut $500 billion from Medicare and the port side of the political spectrum are the ones who argue for age-based rationing.

Latest case in point: Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm–a big medical rationing booster–asserts that as long as millions of Americans have no health insurance, the elderly should not receive organ transplants.  (The 50 million claim is wrong, by the way, but let’s not go there.)  From the Paul Mulshine column in the New Jersey Star Ledger:

Medicare pays most of the cost of heart transplants, which can exceed $700,000. The brief statement put out by Cheney’s staff did not say whether he availed himself of that aid and his staff did not respond to my inquiries. But the mere fact that a 70-plus senior citizen can get the government to pay for such an expensive operation shows why Medicare is going broke, said Lamm. “In this age of high-tech medicine there’s always something you can do to an aging body,” said Lamm, whose own body has aged to 76. “There’s something wrong with a health-care system that gives heart transplants to anyone no matter what their age and doesn’t give basic health care to 50 million people.”

One thing has nothing to do with the other.  But Lamm and Mulshine want death panels to deny care to the elderly:

There have to be some limits on spending. When Sarah Palin made those comments in opposition to Medicare “death panels,’ she was really calling for more spending on the old – and that means more taxation on the young. “At some point, high-tech medicine for aging bodies is going to interfere with what our kids are going to need for a decent society,” said Lamm, whose own body has aged to 76. “If want to push me, I think age should be a consideration in health care.” So do I. That so-called “death panel” represents the sole market-oriented aspect of Medicare. Its real name is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. As the name implies, the board does not tell people they are going to die. It tells them the government is going to stop paying to keep them alive.

Well, if Mulshine had read my piece on the IPAB in the Weekly Standard, he would know that the IPAB doesn’t have rationing power–yet.  As the hopefully soon-to-be-euthanized-by-the-Supreme Court law now stands, once it is in business, the IPAB can primarily cut doctor and hospital compensation.  But I quibble. Death panel impositions and the erection of a bureaucratic state are two of the primary purposes for IPAB and Obamacare.

Isn’t it interesting that those on the port side of politics are so enamored of health care rationing?  That is just invidious medical discrimination by a polite name.  So much for liberalism equalling advocacy for equality.  it was true once, but hasn’t been for a long, long time.  Liberals are the real “Grandma tossers!”


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