The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Death Panels or Paternalism?

with one comment

Barracuda Sarah has raised some eyebrows, once again, by daring to suggest that the proposed healthcare overhaul would provide for “death panels” aimed at easing the handicap and elderly into an almost passive euthanasia.

The rhetoric has angered supporters of the healthcare overhaul, including the President himself.  Some of my friends on facebook have even suggested that such has detracted from what could have been a healthy debate on an important topic.

But is she wrong?  Thomas Peters at the American Principals Project says maybe.  Rather than call them something as incendiary as, “death panels,” Peters has a different take:

I would argue, instead, that the ACPC [Advance Care Planning Consultation] represents at the very least mandated medical paternalism, where individual decision making about end-of-life issues is not only assisted by the consulting doctor, but weighted towards the doctors opinion, causing concern if and when the doctor may not have the ultimate good of the individual patient in mind, but is instead for instance worried about distributing limited government resources.

Good point.  While health care may need to be overhauled, we ought to be very cautious how it is done.  Innocent life is invaluable and should be protected at both ends of the spectrum.  The Obama administration has already indicated that it will provide additional millions for elective abortion services (which seems a far cry from his campaign “above my paygrade” position – but not from his far-left position – of prevented unwanted pregnancies), will his worldview further suggest that choice in life attends to the end of life as well?

Let’s hope not.  Peters ends with a poignant thought:

And so, when Mr. Obama claims there will be no “death panels” in the health care legislation, that does not answer all the questions about ACPC that ought to be addressed before the bill moves forward.

One answer we should ask ourselves in the meantime, is how comfortable we would be with the idea of our aged loved ones being asked to undertake such counseling sessions as outlined by the ACPC at the minimum of every five years, as well as whenever they experience a dramatic change in their health.

Perhaps it’s “medical paternalism” or perhaps it’s a under-thought through way of reducing the drain on the healthcare system of our aging loved ones.  Either way, as faithful supporters of life, it requires our attention.

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Written by Jeremy Dys

August 13, 2009 at 8:32 pm

One Response

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  1. […] the President must answer how his universal system of health, including the all-important “public option,” reduces the need for abortion.  Instead of answering such concerns raised by many in the […]


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