That’s the thinking behind H.R. 1339, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; S. 641, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; and H.R. 1666, the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act. They’re federal initiatives designed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on promoting the value of putting sick people in hospice and treating their symptoms rather than trying to save their lives.
Of course there comes a time when it’s wasteful and perhaps cruel to try to keep a dying patient alive. But it seems that we already do a pretty good job of identifying this threshold, at bringing in the hospice workers and bringing out the painkillers. Why do we need to spend all this money on training professionals to help people die; don’t they cover this in med school? Why do we need to invest so much on educating the public as to the benefits of death; don’t we all realize that one day our lives will end?
Does death really need a costly educational and PR campaign? And how about the proposed new national supervisory board to make sure everyone’s complying with this new way of thinking?
Interestingly, such legislation seems to be enthusiastically endorsed by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Funny – I thought ACS was spending our donations on finding cures, not throwing in the towel.
It’s all about “quality of life,” they assure us; but don’t they really mean “quality of death”?
Don’t get me wrong. For Christians, death is simply the door to everlasting life and eternal joy. “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” the apostle Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 5:8.
But who exactly will make the decision that today is the day? The newly educated family? The overworked doctor? The hospice aide? Or maybe a member of the national supervisory board? (If the latter, “death panel” really would be an apt description for this body.)
Or will there be thousands of pages of regulations to help a bureaucrat of some sort decide when it’s time to pull the plug?
And whoever the decision-maker turns out to be, who exactly made him or her God?
I address this in the Golden Years blog because of course it’ll be the elderly who will be the biggest victims of this legislation. After all, they’re drains on our tax revenues, not contributors. The sooner we can get them out of the way, the better for everyone concerned.
If that doesn't make sense to you right now, don't worry. The feds are going to re-educate you until it does.
The prophet Isaiah warned that this day would come. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
Is anyone listening?