Palliative Care – Is Palin Right?

What is palliative care? It’s mentioned only once in over a thousand pages of HR3200 (page 426) and in the wrong hands – yes, it could be considered downright evil.

Treatment aimed at relieving symptoms and pain rather than effecting a cure – in other words – the red or the blue pill – just not the hip replacement (see HR3200 page 425 see ‘Advance Care Planning Consultation’). 

So, could this have an impact on Trig? That depends on whether or not downs syndrome will be considered a disease in the government guidelines. However, even if downs syndrome is ultimately not considered a disease there are a host of diseases that generally have a high impact on downs syndrome patients – such as congenital heart disease, skeletal problems, celiac disease and dementia similar to Alzheimer’s. So, yes this could impact children with downs syndrome.

There is alot of discussion about this simply because the preliminary bill that we have access to states that the consultation will lay out our options – however we have no idea what will ultimately be an approved treatment allowed under the plan or the availability (waiting) of treatment. There are just too many unknowns. So, while we may want Grandma to have all available treatment – what treatments will ultimately be covered under the plan? what options do we have if the treatment we want is not covered under the plan? We will not have one very important option that the Canadians have now – the choice to come to the US if we cannot get the treatment in our Country.   

In addition, there has been alot of talk about the Advance Care Planning being required every 5 years. Actually, these planning meetings can occur as often as deemed necessary;

An advance care planning consultation with respect to an individual may be conducted more frequently than provided under paragraph (1) if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening injury, or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility (as defined by the Secretary), or a hospice program.

Progressive, life-limiting? Well, we’re all dying so this is a fairly all encompassing passage isnt’ it. These “counselors” can show up at any time to update or require your advance care planning.

Everyone wants to know – what do we have to look forward to? Well, according to the Times Online United Kingdom this is what our elderly and terminally ill patients have to look forward to.

An online auction system developed for councils to buy cheap wheelie bins and stationery is being used to buy end-of-life and dementia care for vulnerable elderly people.

Let’s face it – when costs are a factor a reduction in quality will follow.

In Walsall, the Working Together Specialist Care Agency won a contract to provide palliative care to elderly people in the last few months of their life. Within weeks, the local authority stopped the company taking on any new cases, and then terminated the contract after it emerged that dying people were not receiving the pain relief and help with feeding and washing that they required. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health regulator, confirmed that the agency had been deregistered after an investigation. The agency could not be reached for comment.

Walsall said that price was not the sole consideration in awarding the contract to Working Together. Sue Ryder Care, the specialist charity that held the palliative care contract before the auction, said that it could not even afford to start bidding at the opening price because it was so low.

 Jake Tapper on one hand implies (heavily) that Palin is overreacting, however he goes on to quote:

The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas Sowell wrote a column, “Utopia Versus Freedom,” in which he warned readers to “not be surprised when life-and-death decisions about you or your family are taken out of your hands — and out of the hands of your doctor — and transferred to bureaucrats in Washington.”

In another column, “Care Versus Control,” he went further, asking, “Are decisions made by doctors who have treated the same patient for years to be over-ruled by bureaucrats sitting in front of computer screens in Washington, following guidelines drawn up with the idea of ‘bringing down the cost of medical care’? The idea is even more absurd than the idea that you can add millions of people to a government medical care plan without increasing the costs. It is also more dangerous.”

So, which is it Jake? Is Palin overreacting or is it dangerous? It seems you started out trying to make her claims look ridiculous and ended up making the point for her.

By the way, this nonsense that if Sarah Palin brings up her children it means that they are open targets for the media is absurd. No one can expect a parent to not mention their children and if this is the standard for the media – why isn’t the same standard applied to Obama?


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