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Dem braintrust: 'The Case for Death Panels'
Posted By Aaron Klein On 01/02/2013 @ 8:48 pm In Health,Politics,U.S. | No Comments
Providing health care to younger people offers “better value” since the elderly are “not going to live very long anyway,” contended a blogger for the liberal Slate magazine.
Prior to joining Slate in 2011, Matthew Yglesias was a fellow at the Center for American Progress, which is deeply tied to the White House and has been heavily influential in informing Obama administration policy.
Yglesias authored a blog posting on Monday titled “The Case For Death Panels, In One Chart.”
Yglesias’ piece was based on a graph that purported to show how American per capita health care spending goes from marginally higher than Germany or Sweden to much higher. The graphs show the vast majority of the spending increase takes place when Americans reach their late 60s with the costs being shifted to the public sector under Medicare.
That same day, Yglesias posted a correction to his blog piece, admitting the graph he used was “badly flawed.”
Still, his article goes on to make the case for rationing public health care for the elderly.
Writes Yglesias: “On the one hand, older people have more need for health care services which militates in favor of allocating spending to them. On the other hand, providing health care services to younger people generally offers better value in terms of years of life and quality of life saved.
“A 25-year-old who’s in a bad car accident can, if found in time and treated, still live a very happy and healthy life. If you’re 95 and get into the same car accident, then treatment is going to be much more difficult, recovery will be much less complete, and in the grand scheme of things you’re not going to live very long anyway.”
Yglesias argued that not only is health care spending on the elderly the key issue in the federal budget, “our disproportionate allocation of health care dollars to old people surely accounts for the remarkable lack of apparent cost effectiveness of the American health care system.”
The writer contended that when a patient is over 80, “the simple fact of the matter is that no amount of treatment is going to work miracles in terms of life expectancy or quality of life.”
The Center for American Progress, where Yglesias worked for three years prior to joining Slate, is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chairman of President Obama’s presidential transition team in 2008. The center is heavily funded by billionaire George Soros.
Yglesias’s proposal is the latest call by progressive activists for rationing of health care and so-called death panels.
In September, WND reported how a top Democrat strategist and donor who served as Obama’s lead auto-industry adviser conceded that the rationing of heath services under Obamacare is “inevitable.”
Steven Rattner stated that such rationing should target elderly patients, while stating, “We need death panels.”
Rattner serves on the board of the New America Foundation, or NAF, a Soros-funded think tank that was instrumental in supporting Obamacare in 2010. Soros’ son, financier Jonathan Soros, is also a member of the foundation’s board.
Rattner was the so-called “car czar,” the lead auto adviser to the Treasury Department under Obama.
In late August, Rattner penned an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Beyond Obamacare” in which he proclaimed, “We need death panels.” He argued rationing must be introduced to sustain Obama’s health-care plan. His comments were virtually ignored by traditional media as the president campaigned for a second term.
“We need death panels,” began Rattner. “Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health-care resources more prudently – rationing, by its proper name – the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.”
Continued Rattner: “But in the pantheon of toxic issues – the famous ‘third rail’ of American politics – none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.”
Rattner lamented how Obama’s Affordable Care Act “regrettably includes severe restrictions on any reduction in Medicare services or increase in fees to beneficiaries.”
Rattner said the numbers don’t add up unless Obamacare utilizes rationing.
“If his Independent Payment Advisory Board comes up with savings, Congress must accept either them or vote for an equivalent package,” stated Rattner. “The problem is, the advisory board can’t propose reducing benefits (aka rationing) or raising fees (another form of rationing), without which the spending target looms impossibly large.”
Rattner singled out elderly patients for benefit cuts.
He wrote: “No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled – including Canada, Australia and New Zealand – have systems for rationing care.”
He concluded, “At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs.
“We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable.”
Rattner serves on the NAF’s 22-person board of directors alongside Jonathan Soros, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and Google’s Eric Schmidt.
Soros’ Open Society Foundation is a primary donor to the NAF.
Other major donors include the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google Inc. and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Another donor is Free Press, a group that advocates for more government control of the airwaves and Internet.
Free Press is also funded by Soros. Free Press was founded by Robert W. McChesney, an avowed Marxist who has recommended capitalism be dismantled “brick by brick.”
The NAF, meanwhile, bills itself as bipartisan and “the radical center.”
NAF fellow Michael Lind wrote, “Our goal (is) not to repeal the New Deal [of Franklin Roosevelt) but to adapt it to the circumstances of the 21st century.”
Discover The Networks notes how the NAF approved of Obamacare because it would “offer a new image” of how Americans view dying; and it would help “patients and their families to recognize” that “sometimes ‘doing everything’ results in more burden than benefit. High-tech medicine can prolong life, but for some patients, it merely draws out the process of dying.”
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott
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