Do you remember Sarah Palin’s rhetoric in the last presidential election about government-run “death panels?” What she was referring to are the control boards that President Obama proposed building into the Affordable Care Act. The goal, as I understand it, was to regulate the amount of money Medicare would pay for medical procedures at the end of a person’s life.
Now, mind you, I’m not in favor of giving this kind of control to the government. I personally feel that it’s an issue for healthcare providers and patients. In other words, we need to be responsible enough to have the hard discussions with our doctors about the level of care we should be given in the final days of our lives. That means preparing a will or advance directives so that healthcare provider don’t make a million dollar, herculean effort on our behalf if it’s not what we’d choose on our own.
Today the Huffington Post printed an article on this very topic. Here’s a snippet of the discussion that I found most interesting:
And that’s never been more important, Morhaim contends. “As the baby boom generation reaches its senior years, as new lifesaving medical treatments are announced almost weekly and as our health care system confronts a crisis of affordability, the need is urgent for ordinary people to demand participation in end-of-life decisions.”
I think this comment is spot-on. Fellow baby boomers, we have a responsibility to our children and our grandchildren to do the right thing. Just because medical science can keep us going longer, does not me they should. After all, someone must pay for all of the technology and man-power that keeps us alive past our prime. It’s vital to put your wishes in a will or an advance directive.
If you want an interesting bit of reading, pick up “The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World” by Dan Morhaim, a practicing physician and Maryland state legislator.
Montel Williams writes:
Dan Morhaim’s message is a must read for anyone who is facing end-of-life crisis issues and concerns, whether it be for themselves or for a family member or loved one. When so many others shun away from the topic, Dan Morhaim addresses the situation with clarity, insight, and sensitivity.
Now is the time for all seniors and party-line politicians to get real and have productive conversations about this issue. Our government must make difficult cost-saving decisions about our Medicare benefits. If you don’t want the government to make end-of-life decisions for you, then you have to take the hard steps on your own.
I invite you to weigh-in on on this discussion with former Speak of the House Newt Gingrich.