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Less Is Morbid: Socialized medicine kills by design

by: daniel clark | published: 05 31, 2009

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With the possible socialization of American medicine looming, we've all heard accounts of the hardships caused by service cutbacks in countries with so-called "universal health care." People routinely die while on months-long waiting lists for badly needed surgery. Patients already approved for hip or knee replacements are left to suffer, sometimes for a year or longer before their operations. Frustrated by such inefficiency, Canadians flee to American hospitals for treatment in large numbers.

Have you ever wondered, though, why there are no such waiting lists for abortion? If they existed, we'd surely know about it. Abortion advocates usually scream bloody murder (so to speak) over legislative 24-hour waiting periods. They'd never tolerate delays of such lengths as to jeopardize the opportunity to perform the operation. A life-saving procedure may be postponed indefinitely, but when it comes to a life-taking procedure, there's no time to lose.

If that seems like a contradiction, it shouldn't. A government that dictates its nation's health care system is a monopoly, and as such has no particular interest in providing quality care. It does have an interest in controlling costs, however, and death controls costs.

We have that from no less an authority than Derek Humphry, founder of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society. In his 1998 book Freedom to Die: People, Politics and the Right-to-Die Movement, he and co-author Mary Clement propose assisted suicide as "one method of cost containment." Humphry and Clement rhetorically ask, "Is there, in fact, a duty to die -- a responsibility within the family unit -- that should remain voluntary but expected nevertheless?" That expectation becomes all the more fervent, once the role of the family is subsumed by Hillary's Village.

Through the rationing of care, socialized medicine in other countries has led to a form of passive euthanasia, by which the government basically turns the whole system into a triage, and bumps those deemed unworthy of treatment off the waiting list altogether. President Obama weirdly alluded to this outcome, while discussing a hip replacement his grandmother had gotten shortly before her death.

"I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement, just because she's my grandmother," he said. "Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else's aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they're terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question." It's not a question, however, that has inhibited him from becoming a leading proponent of "sort of in the aggregate" health care.

A collectivist system could just as easily conclude that life-preserving treatments for the elderly and disabled are not a "sustainable model" either. In fact, withholding such care would be far more cost effective than merely denying a procedure that would alleviate the patient's suffering.

In the Netherlands -- a nation often depicted as a progressive Xanadu -- they've adopted not only these passive measures, but also outright, unapologetic, nonconsensual euthanasia, including the extermination of handicapped infants. Such actions are increasingly advocated in the morally relativistic field of "bioethics," where a utilitarian view of humanity is almost mandatory. Never mind the "slippery slope" arguments; if America follows the European socialists' lead, we'll be walking into a slippery elevator shaft.

When Obama was a state senator in Illinois, he defended the practice of allowing babies who survive abortion attempts to die of neglect in hospital rooms. These children were indisputably people, entitled to constitutional protection, but the decisive factor that did them in was that they were unwanted. When bureaucrats are in charge of deciding who is or isn't worthy of medical care, how confident are you that your government will "want" you?

Liberals view a nation's citizens as the children of the government. If that's true, then we're the children who never grow any more responsible, no matter how much we age. We sit scratching our gray-haired bellies, and playing video games on our parents' couch, while loudly informing them that we're all out of potato chips. We'd be fools, then, to expect our governmental parents to look upon us with anything but contempt.

Those children whose killing Obama condoned had parents, too. That didn't spare them from being "terminated," perhaps for the purpose of cost containment, by the very people who'd been entrusted with their care. The difference between those children, and the victims of a maternalistic government, is that the former are left entirely dependent by nature, and the latter by the willing abdication of their natural freedom.

-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While earning an M.A. in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the mid-90s, he had weekly opinion and sports columns published in the independent student newspaper. In 1999, he created a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, for which he has written on a wide array of topics, but with a particular emphasis on the need to return to a literal interpretation of the Constitution. He is now a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.



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