Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ignorance is bliss---not

Oh, how loudly people are screaming (the pundit Palin once again expressing opinions without comprehension of the facts) that now the government wants to decide who lives and who dies. First, its "the government wants to provide health-care to one and all" and suddenly its "the government wants to withhold health-care from the old and sick." Well, it reminds me of the old joke about the Ignorantans vs the Jesuits but its a long joke and I won't repeat it now. Suffice it to say that there are complex and appropriate arguments on both sides of the health-care debate but ranting against the one unequivocally appropriate and important provision in the health-care bill brought forth by the House is an accolade to ignorance. There are governments that believe they have the right to determine how money is spent when they are giving away "free stuff." Both Great Britain and the state of Oregon, for example, have made decisions not to treat certain illnesses that have an extremely low likelyhood of recovery. But this is not what our legislature has in mind, it wants to educate people, a seemingly radical idea. Who wants to remain ignorant about what treatment options we have when we get really sick and are likely to pass on to the next world? The answer should be "no one." Someone may want to be on a ventilator with IV's and catheters and multiple medications if it allows them a few more hours of life even if they are comatose. Another person may choose to have no treatment and even withhold nurishment if they are in a condition that will not allow them to live a life which allows them a measure of independence along with normal cognition and communication. Both have the right to their exit strategy but unless they know how to communicate their wishes to the health-care system, they will all be kept alive to the very end and sometimes even beyound. The bottom line is when an individual understands their choices, expresses those choices clearly to someone else and then identifies that person to their health-care provider than there is a high likelyhood that their wishes will be honored. This empowers the individual and is that not the core of conservative ideology? We have the added benefit of not having to waste large sums of money on unwanted treatments. Is this a case of everyone wins? Yup, it sure is.

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