Federal health care legislation being pushed by the Obama administration has raised a number of fears among defenders of the sanctity of human life. A leading concern is whether the proposed federal health care plan will limit health care services to elderly citizens with failing health, and promote euthanasia for those who are physically or mentally infirm.
Provisions in the legislation under consideration by Congress call for "advance care planning consultation" for senior citizens. An "advance care planning consultant" would provide "end of life
resources" to senior citizens and develop "end of life" plans. The plan would determine who has the authority to sign "end of life" orders.
Congressman John Boehner of Ohio believes "end of life counseling" would cause senior citizens to feel pressured to sign end of life directives that would hasten their death.
"This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-sponsored euthanasia if enacted into law," Boehner says. With three states having legalized physician-assisted suicide, this
provision could create a slippery slope for a more permissive environment for euthanasia, mercy-killing and physician-assisted suicide. Health care reform that fails to protect the sanctity and dignity of all human life is not reform at all."
Boehner quoted the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's thoughts on such an approach: "The message is clear: Government can save money by encouraging old people to die a little sooner.
Instead of being regarded with reverence...human life is subject...to a utilitarian cost-benefit calculus and can be sacrificed to serve fiscal policy..."
Interestingly, the end of life provision in the House bill originated with Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who has been a major proponent of that state's assisted suicide law. There have been recent stories out of Oregon of state health officials refusing to pay for chemotherapy but agreeing to pay for "physician aid-in-dying."
The coercion elements of the end of life provisions are revealed further by the proposal's "quality
control" standards. They state that the federal government will measure the implementation of end of life care and advanced care planning. Quality control efforts will measure "both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment."
Concerns about the motivations behind the language are elevated by the philosophy of Ezekiel Emanuel, a chief architect of the health care plan and the brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Ezekiel Emanuel has stated in the past that the medical benefits of a government-controlled health care plan would not be given to
"individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to people with dementia."
Bradley Mattes, Director of Life Issues Institute, states that vulnerable individuals under such a scheme would include both the medically fragile and the disabled. He says, "So who else will be killed by medical neglect under such a plan? It will likely be patients with Down Syndrome, Parkinson's, or one of many other debilitating illnesses."
The threat to senior citizens is intensified by the clear intentions of the health care plan to ration medical services. Health care covered under the plan would be "allocated" based on age, the present health of any patient, and the "availability"
of health services and supplies. A Health Choices Commissoner and a health care benefits advisory committee appointed by the President would determine what coverage would be provided.
President Obama's own statements on this issue are a cause for alarm. He has expressed dismay that "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there." He made the curt remark in one forum that "maybe you're better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller."
It is clear that the Obama health care plan is the gravest threat posed to the pro-life values of the American people since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade
. In addition to the
euthanasia-friendly provisions of the legislation, both the House and Senate bills mandate coverage of abortions.
You can read more about the many components of the federal health care legislation by reviewing an analysis formulated in part by Liberty Counsel. You can do so by choosing this link:
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Please be praying fervently that our nation will be spared from this extremely anti-life initiative that will negatively impact every one of our families.