Really, now, what’s so wrong with a death panel? Everyone’s getting all exercised about it, and really, now, a death panel?
Why not? Think about it. Notwithstanding the fact some believe all we have to do is print more money and flood the marketplace with worthless dollar bills, there really is a limit to currency - - the measure of faith and trust we have in our government to back it.
All things considered, that faith and trust is a little thin today, don’t you think? Well, so are the number of doctors, nurses and other trained medical professionals, as well as the availability of medical services. And, so’s Granny.
Finite supply of money + finite reservoir of trained professionals + finite availability of services can’t help but = rationing. Let’s be honest here.
I remember a question once asked of a buddy a long time ago – - this buddy had both a wife and a “friend.” The questioner wanted to know . . . . if your wife and your friend were in the ocean drowning, and you could save only one, which one would you save? It was a bogus question, but it has some applicability to today’s debate.
In this corner, we have Granny, aged 84, slight dementia, high blood pressure, failing vision, doesn’t drive any more and needs someone to look in on her daily. Her hair is blue, and her hands are covered with liver spots. She has a cat who speaks to her in the voice of Marjorie Main, channeling Ma Kettle from the movies, and she believes renegade squirrels are conspiring against her.
And in the other corner, we have a spry and nimble fellow, 60 years of age, who works out regularly, eats well, brushes and flosses daily, and who’s only malady is a wit so dry and mirthful it often goes unnoticed. He has a dog named after a wolf from his favorite television show of all time, and he hopes to become a Mountie when he grows up.
Each is in need of some medical attention, so let's assume each is a candidate for some extraordinary care to prolong their lives. Or, put another way, each is in the ocean treading water but about to drown, and medical care can save only one.
Who’s it going to be, and who’s going to make the decision? Do you want to leave it up to some doctor who may know one but not both of them? Does that seem fair? Or, how about family members, all of whom would be sappy enough to save Granny, the cute little old lady, and toss the other guy under the ambulance?
Nah, neither is fair. An impartial, pasty-faced, paper-pushing, bean-counting bureaucrat is the true and only solution to the dilemma. A consultation gives each side the opportunity to plead their cases, just like Albert Brooks in “Defending Your life.“ A Death Panel Judge hears the case, renders the decision, and good old Granny is gone.
The really good news in all this, though? In the health care bill before Congress now, the costs of that death panel consultation are covered by health insurance, although under these circumstances that’s sort of a misnomer, or at least is a misnomer for Granny. But, still, with all of the things that health insurance policies don’t cover right now, it’s good to see that some things will be covered in the future.
So, we have that going for us. Which is nice.
Author’s disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. My mother is lucid, and oriented as to person, place and thing. Her hair is not blue, she is not 84 and her cat does not talk. At least to me, but then again, I’m a dog person. And, I’m not yet 60.