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“They” keep telling us that we spend too much for health care in the last two years of one’s life.

But as I hear that, I can’t help but wonder, how do we know when that last two years starts? We only know that after someone dies!

So, if they are going to limit what is done during those last two years, when are they going to start the limiting?

Four examples:

Example 1: My wife had a partner who was diagnosed with colon cancer and given six months to live. He underwent treatment and lived another five-plus years. He saw his grandson born and practiced medicine during those five-plus years. Would he have gotten the treatment he did that allowed him to live another several years under Obamacare?

Example 2: My mother passed away the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend, three weeks before she turned 90. She had been very healthy up to the end except for injuries from a fall she had during the past year. She fell and broke her arm and some ribs. Would she have received care for those injuries under Obamacare?

Example 3: My father-in-law had a heart attack when he was in his 60s. He had open heart surgery that corrected the problem. He had additional surgery in his 70s to improve circulation. He is now in his mid-80s and just had eye surgery. Would he have gotten his open heart surgery, his vascular surgery or his eye surgery under Obamacare? When does his “last two years” start?

Example 4: My wife was a pediatrician for 28 years. At age 54, she developed cardiac sarcoidosis, which showed itself in December 2006. It took doctors 10 months of testing and appointments to determine the diagnosis. She has had three pacemakers, a heart transplant surgery and significant testing and treatments to keep her healthy. During that time she fractured her back and developed organizing pneumonia. The latest issue she is dealing with is low white blood-cell counts. Would she have gotten all her treatments under Obamacare? When will her “last two years” start?

The only real way to know when someone’s last two years starts is to know when they die. So to limit what is done in the last two years of one’s life is to limit treatment based on a life expectancy standard, which WILL ensure that many people will die before they might otherwise have, only because we have withheld treatment!

Why don’t we hear this in our discussions!

Alan

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