WSJ: VA pushes vets to consider death as an alternative to treatment

posted at 11:36 am on August 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The ObamaCare bill may not contain “death panels,” but even Charles Lane and Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post wonder why the bill incentivizes end-of-life consultations with the elderly and ill as part of its cost-containment strategy.  Maybe Lane and Robinson should take a look at the VA, where the Obama administration and former General Eric Shinseki have reinstated a program called “Your Life, Your Choices.”  The Wall Street Journal reports that this program amounts to a high-pressure sales pitch for refusal of treatment for veterans:

“Your Life, Your Choices” presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political “push poll.” For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to “shake the blues.” There is a section which provocatively asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran’s health-care system that seems intent on his surrender.

I was not surprised to learn that the VA panel of experts that sought to update “Your Life, Your Choices” between 2007-2008 did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. And as you might guess, only one organization was listed in the new version as a resource on advance directives: the Hemlock Society (now euphemistically known as “Compassion and Choices”).

Of course, the program is entirely voluntary, right?  Well, the VA has instructed its physicians to deliver this end-of-life counseling to all of its patients.  In effect, the US government is telling every veteran it treats that they may want to die for their country — not to defend it, but to save it a few bucks.

This booklet has been in use since the Clinton administration.  When the Bush administration finally reviewed “Your Life, Your Choices,” it suspended its use within the VA system.  For some reason, the Obama administration and Shinseki have reinstated the booklet this year.  The directive reinstituting the booklet was issued last month.

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown, but this is downright disgusting.  The Bush administration was correct in suspending the use of these tactics to push vets into refusing treatment, and the government these men and women defended should be ashamed to have put that in their hands in the first place.  If Obama wants to argue that he won’t bend the cost curve downward at the expense of treatment, maybe he should start by stopping that very policy at the VA — one of the existing “public plans” that need reform much more than the overall health-care system.


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Your Choice Put Obama Where He Is Today

Your Life, Your Choice

Kini on August 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Any Senator working to reverse this??

- The Cat

MirCat on August 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown

Perhaps not.

littleguy on August 20, 2009 at 12:51 PM

lonesomecharlie on August 20, 2009 at 12:38 PM

You are added to my daily prayers.

theCork on August 20, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Is this the book? It is on a va.gov website.

JustTruth101 on August 20, 2009 at 12:52 PM

I’d like to give Sarah credit for prescience, but the fact is she was only stating the obvious. Unsavory, shameful and unpopular, but impossible to miss if you pay attention.

Immolate on August 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM

If it was so obvious, why were all the opponents fumbling to find a way to frame the outrage in a way with wouldn’t evaporate 30 seconds after stating it?

“Death Panels” has staying power, much like Reagan’s “Evil Empire” caused all the Libs and RINOS to almost have a stroke because the language was so harsh.

portlandon on August 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM

How does this jell with the anti-suicide push by the military?

rob verdi on August 20, 2009 at 12:38 PM

We tend to view a young fit person killing themselves as a tragedy, while seeing a terminally ill person who decides to opt out of some treatment as a rational, and unfortunately daily, decision.

dedalus on August 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Mr. President,Do Americans have a DUTY TO DIE?

BOOTLICK MEDIA…..I dare you ask Obama in his next presser or town hall..

Does anyone (Jake Tapper / Major Garrett?) have the cajones to ask him that ask question?

PappyD61 on August 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM

I have received care from a VA facility for several years due to a service connected disability. Two years ago I had to have an outpatient surgery done to remove a pile of kidney stones. The end result was my left kidney no longer exists and my right side is operating at 45%, in the near future I will have to have a transplant. A very scary prospect after what they have already done to me. Because this is a government facility , we vets have very little rights, complaints only hurt ones chances for health care. This is what the country will see if Obama and the Libs pass this health package. Don’t do it folks, its not worth your life or your families.

Navyret on August 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown, but this is downright disgusting.

This kind of foolish nonsense needs to stop. Our side needs to understand that this isn’t a debating club where we are rated on points. This is a fight to the death with a bunch of death loving fanatics who want us dead. Read Holdren’s Ecoscience and Wright and the New Black Panthers.

Sarah got the offending language changed. Hot Air and the rest of the persnippity Republicans did not. Sarah is taking the fight directly at the Death Lovers and the rest of the Republicans are NOT.

Quit acting like style points are being awarded. They are not.

PierreLegrand on August 20, 2009 at 12:57 PM

More from Sarah Palin:

The president is busy assuring us that we can keep our private insurance plans, but common sense (and basic economics) tells us otherwise. The public option in the Democratic health care plan will crowd out private insurers, and that’s what it’s intended to do. A single payer health care plan has been President Obama’s agenda all along, though he is now claiming otherwise. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said back in 2003:

I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan…. A single payer health care plan – universal health care plan – that’s what I would like to see.” [3]

A single-payer health care plan might be what Obama would like to see, but is it what the rest of us would like to see? What does a single payer health care plan look like? We need look no further than other countries who have adopted such a plan. The picture isn’t pretty. [4] The only way they can control costs is to ration care. As I noted in my earlier statement quoting Thomas Sowell, government run health care won’t reduce the price of medical care; it will simply refuse to pay the price. The expensive innovative procedures that people from all over the world come to the United States for will not be available under a government plan that seeks to cover everyone by capping costs.

Our senior citizens are right to be wary of this health care bill. Medical care at the end of life accounts for 80 percent of all health care. When care is rationed, that is naturally where the cuts will be felt first. The “end-of-life” consultations authorized in Section 1233 of HR 3200 were an obvious and heavy handed attempt at pressuring people to reduce the financial burden on the system by minimizing their own care. Worst still, it actually provided a financial incentive to doctors to initiate these consultations. People are right to point out that such a provision doesn’t sound “purely voluntary.”

Now doesn’t that sound a lot like this VA policy?

It’s the inevitable result of government health care.

Glenn Beck’s TV program did an investigative report on the Indian Reservations and their nationalized health care. Same result.

Brian1972 on August 20, 2009 at 12:59 PM

I expect we’ll be hearing Gibbs talk about this just being a “silly distraction.”

Star20 on August 20, 2009 at 12:59 PM

El Presidente Sleeze-Ball. I don’t remember “The Carter Years” being this bad.

CEA_Agent on August 20, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Quit acting like style points are being awarded. They are not.

PierreLegrand on August 20, 2009 at 12:57 PM

You are correct. For too long the repubs / conservatives have played a game while the libtards have fought a war. IT IS TIME TO PUSH BACK AND FIGHT.

jwp1964 on August 20, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Page 24 is disgusting. It instructs the veteran to INITIAL AND DATE the page, then fill out the checklist as follows:

What makes your life worth living?

Instructions This exercise will help you think about and express what really matters to you. For each row, check (✔) one answer to express how you would feel if this factor by itself described you.

Here are the answer choices, note that there is no “ok” choice, only “bad” choices: (what sick b*stard designed this?)

difficult, but acceptable
worth living, but just barely
not worth living
can’t answer now

And now the question:

a. I can no longer walk but get around in a wheelchair.
b. I can no longer get outside—I spend all day at home.
c. I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being.
d. I am in severe pain most of the time.
e. I have severe discomfort most of the time (such as
nausea, diarrhea, or shortness of breath).
f. I rely on a feeding tube to keep me alive.
g. I rely on a kidney dialysis machine to keep me alive.
h. I rely on a breathing machine to keep me alive.
i. I need someone to help take care of me all of time.
j. I can no longer control my bladder.
k. I can no longer control my bowels.
l. I live in a nursing home.
m. I can no longer think clearly-I am confused all the time.
n. I can no longer recognize family/friends
o. I can no longer talk and be understood by others.
p. My situation causes severe emotional burden for my
family (such as feeling worried or stressed all the time).
q. I am a severe financial burden on my family.
r. I cannot seem to “shake the blues.”
s. Other (write in):

Finally, to REALLY push the vet over the edge, here are the instructions at the bottom of the page:

Instructions To help others make sense out of your answers, think about the following questions and be sure to explain your answers to your loved ones and health care providers.

If you checked “worth living, but just barely” for more than one factor, would a combination of these factors make your life “not worth living?” If so, which factors?

If you checked “not worth living,” does this mean that you would rather die than be kept alive?

If you checked “can’t answer now,” what information or people do you need to help you decide?

You can access the book at www1 . va . gov / pugetsound/ docs / ylyc.pdf (you have to remove the sapces, my psots won’t appear for some reason if I link to it…)

JustTruth101 on August 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM

More Palin:

Our nation is already $11.5 trillion in debt. Where will the money come from? Taxes, of course. And will a burdensome new tax help our economy recover? Of course not. The best way to encourage more health care coverage is to foster a strong economy where people can afford to purchase their own coverage if they choose to do so. The current administration’s economic policies have done nothing to help in this regard.

Health care is without a doubt a complex and contentious issue, but health care reform should be a market oriented solution. There are many ways we can reform the system and lower costs without nationalizing it.

The economist Arthur Laffer has taken the lead in pushing for a patient-center health care reform policy. He noted in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this month:

A patient-centered health-care reform begins with individual ownership of insurance policies and leverages Health Savings Accounts, a low-premium, high-deductible alternative to traditional insurance that includes a tax-advantaged savings account. It allows people to purchase insurance policies across state lines and reduces the number of mandated benefits insurers are required to cover. It reallocates the majority of Medicaid spending into a simple voucher for low-income individuals to purchase their own insurance. And it reduces the cost of medical procedures by reforming tort liability laws.” [8]

Those are real reforms that we can live with and afford. Once again, I warn my fellow Americans that if we go down the path of nationalized health care, there will be no turning back. We must stop and think or we may find ourselves losing even more of our freedoms.

- Sarah Palin

She is absolutely correct. It is not overblown in the slightest. Right on the money. This must be defeated in total, and some real free market solutions to the problems that do exist put forward without crossing this “point of no return”, or our freedoms as we have always known them will be regulated away on the basis of health care costs one at a time, until it is your turn to have your file on the table of the “death panel”.

Brian1972 on August 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Boy, that Palin chick better stop reading. Look what she’s done.

faraway on August 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM

There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

Those are all realistic scenarios. Why would such counseling pretend those scenarios are never going to happen when, in fact, they occur every day?

orange on August 20, 2009 at 1:10 PM

orange, I’ll be glad when you are ready for counseling. I’m here to help.

faraway on August 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Finally, to REALLY push the vet over the edge, here are the instructions at the bottom of the page:

JustTruth101 on August 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM

OMG. Not only do they encourage you to think suicidal thoughts but then, just to make sure you comprehend what you are supposed to be doing, they all but provide an illustration to show how to fashion a noose out of bedsheets.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM

The WSJ opinion piece cited page 21. Interesting that they didnt mention these “leading questions” from page 22:

I believe that it is always wrong to withhold (not start) treatments that could keep me alive.

I believe that it is always wrong to withdraw (stop)
treatments that could keep me alive after they’ve been
started.

I believe it is wrong to withhold (not provide) nutrition
and fluids given through tubes, even if I am terminally
ill or in a permanent coma.

(respondents are given the option of answering “Yes”, “Not Sure”, or “No”)

One could easily make the argument that those questions are just as much “push-polling” as the others.

orange on August 20, 2009 at 1:14 PM

WTF happened to our country? Why do we let the savage, liberal minority crowd out our patriotism, our God, our rights, our day to day happiness?

And now we are letting them run our wounded vets into early graves via guilt trip testing? This smacks of coercive euthanasia – combo this with casual abortions for any and every reason at our expense …….I cannot live this way, on the edge of vomiting, sick and sad all the damn time, due to these unethical and monstrous policies, for the rest of my life. Does anyone out there feel this way too? I said I would never be scared of anything, but I was wrong.

Ris4victory on August 20, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Why would such counseling pretend those scenarios are never going to happen when, in fact, they occur every day?

orange on August 20, 2009 at 1:10 PM

There are other, more helpful, ways of addressing the issue.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Well, at least we’re getting that softer, more compassionate liberal touch, when being told to just drop dead. It’s a far site better than the holocaust.

*note the sarcasm*

Mincing words won’t change what this is.

capejasmine on August 20, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Those are all realistic scenarios. Why would such counseling pretend those scenarios are never going to happen when, in fact, they occur every day?

orange on August 20, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Then there’s no issue with applying this way of thinking to people with pre-existing conditions, is there?

Tonus on August 20, 2009 at 1:22 PM

So, if the government someday convinces you that you aren’t worthy of living any longer and they help you end it all do your loved ones still collect on your life insurance, because they don’t pay out if you commit suicide. Or is the government going to take over life insurance companies next?

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 1:22 PM

YAY my personal stalker is here! The parole board finally approved your release, I see.

Bishop on August 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM

LOL

Old Hippie Vet on August 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Does anyone out there feel this way too? I said I would never be scared of anything, but I was wrong.

Ris4victory on August 20, 2009 at 1:15 PM

You’ve just been listening to the FEAR MONGERS too much.

/sarc

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Finally, to REALLY push the vet over the edge, here are the instructions at the bottom of the page:

JustTruth101 on August 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Thanks for the info.

UN-effing-believable.

TXUS on August 20, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Mincing words won’t change what this is.

capejasmine on August 20, 2009 at 1:21 PM

I particularly like the fact that you are to sign and date each page of the “quiz” so family members will know when you filled it out. What that really means is “so family members have an airtight case when they want to pull the plug.”

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 1:29 PM

I’m a vet and if the VA rep were ever to advise me on any of this I would advise right back that they will be moving on before I will.

Bishop on August 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM
You’re a vet? Yeah, right.

TTheoLogan on August 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM

What is WRONG WITH YOU TTheoLogan??!!!!! A little advice for you… pay close attention to your thoughts, for thoughts become words and words become actions.

Maybe God will decide that you and those who agree with this disgusting abomination aren’t worth saving.

fullogas on August 20, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Wild guess: “Going out in a blaze of glory storming The Hill” isn’t discussed as an option.

Christien on August 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM

When it comes to The One and his support of “choosing” death, there is NO SUCH THING AS OVER THE TOP RHETORIC.

balkanmom2 on August 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM

What that really means is “so family members have an airtight case when they want to pull the plug.”

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 1:29 PM
Or when the government employee pulls the plug and shows the family members how compassionate he was when he did the deed.

fourdeucer on August 20, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Getting vets to agree to early death, via guilt or shame, is the same as convincing them to commit suicide, only with medical assistance. Suicide is a Biblical sin; we are to respect our elders and support the weakest among us. To be humane, don’t you need to first be a HUMAN?

Please mister usurper president – demonstrate on national t.v. this program on yourself, or any member of your immediate family.

Ris4victory on August 20, 2009 at 1:41 PM

By now everyone should’ve figured out that the left hates our military service members.

TrickyDick on August 20, 2009 at 1:43 PM

This is just sick. Life is a short warm moment and death is a long cold rest. Every single second of life is priceless. I want our brave vets and every other American to get any and all treatment that they choose. If you are 100 years old and a pacemaker will give you only one extra day with you’re family I support putting a pacemaker in instead of just taking a pain pill. How could anyone support our government doing this? These morbid socialists in our government have to go!

Dollayo on August 20, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown, but this is downright disgusting.

Anyone else see the irony in this statement?

Richard Romano on August 20, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown, but this is downright disgusting.

It wasn’t. Not sure how many times we have to hash this out but what else wd you call a group of people who decide whether or not to with hold treatment that will result in your death? They may not actively euthanize people but the result is the same. And then there are those who with hold treatment and offer to euthanize people.

People who are sick want to die because they are in pain, are scared, are lonely, etc. It is cheaper to give poison or enough drugs to OD on than to address those issues. Disgusting.

Blake on August 20, 2009 at 1:45 PM

I was always told that you don’t get to pick when or how you die. What the hell, now the government is going to change that? For economic reasons?
Really?

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Perhaps some of the “death panels” rhetoric was overblown, but this is downright disgusting.

Me somehow thinks that If Palin’s “Death Panel” label had been applied by Romney or Pawlenty or a Mainstream GOP spokesmouth Ed might not think this rhetoric was overblown.

portlandon on August 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Like all Obama legislation designed to take over some aspect of our lives, the arguments tend to be impersonal and somewhat dehumanizing. I would like to personalize the Veteran’s Administration “Your Life, Your Choices” with the Poster Boy for the death option. My friend served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. He voluntarily joined the Marines and while on patrol in August, 1969 he was wounded by a Viet Cong sniper. The bullet entered his back and severed his spinal cord. As my friend told me later, it was the intent of snipers to wound and maim as opposed to killing Marines and Soldiers. As the result of the sniper’s bullet my friend spent years in and out of hospitals. After being stabilized in Vietnam, he was transferred to a U.S. Army hospital at Camp Zama, Japan. He eventually made it to the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Long Beach, California by way of another six months at the base hospital at Camp Pendleton. His wounds left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was 19 years old when he was wounded and has been in a wheel chair his entire life. My friend was fortunate to have a loving family and friends that never considered him a burden. Unlike the advice in the VA pamphlet “Your Life, Your Choices,” they never would have compelled him to die. Over the years his body has deteriorated but he has not died yet despite the best efforts of the VA. When he was experiencing too many infections because of the lack of care by the VA, they just gave him a colostomy so they would not have to be bothered cleaning and changing him. His legs have broke many times and now they are considering amputating his legs because they cannot be bothered treating him. Because he was wounded in Vietnam, he was retired from the Marines as opposed to just being discharged. Therefore, he was entitled to the military retiree’s health plan called Tri Care. With the help of a lawyer, he was transferred out of the VA system and into Tri Care at a private hospital. Since then, his health along with his legs has improved tremendously. He is driving again with the aid of a specially equipped van and his family and friends cannot be happier or more supportive of his improving health. My friend was once told by a VA doctor that he was not supposed to live this long. I fear this attitude will permeate the Single Payer system.

On a final note, many proponents of the Single Payer national health-like system use the VA for an example of how this ill conceived program would work in the United States. First of all, the VA is not charity and not available to all U.S. citizens. The VA was created in 1930 to treat the veterans who were wounded in WWI. It has evolved into a heartless bureaucratic incompetent nightmare. Most of the veterans that go there are for service-related injuries. Ironically, Obama has said that Veterans should bear some of the costs associated with their service-connected injuries. So by The Messiah’s logic, my friend who was wounded in Vietnam and lost the use of his legs should have paid for his own treatment. That is insane. As a veteran and having used the VA system as well, I would have to say that the VA is the antithesis of what health care should be in the United States. Obama said there are no death panels, however, the “Your Life, Your Choices,” could be the poster child for a death panel brochure for the masses. Sarah Palin was right!

globalmagnetic on August 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM

This revelation is so incredibly repugnant I am at a loss for words.

I am so glad that my father, my father-in-law, and mother-in-law, all served during WWII, did not live to see this “thank-you” gift from the government.

tru2tx on August 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Of course they suggest you die after April 18, right after you have paid your taxes…

right2bright on August 20, 2009 at 2:02 PM

People who are sick want to die because they are in pain, are scared, are lonely, etc. It is cheaper to give poison or enough drugs to OD on than to address those issues. Disgusting.

Blake on August 20, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Did you read the article? What do you expect when this guy is the one writing the publication:


Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 2:02 PM

If you are 100 years old and a pacemaker will give you only one extra day with you’re family I support putting a pacemaker in instead of just taking a pain pill.

–Dollayo, that is just silly. If it was the Vet’s (or Vet’s family’s) own money, I’m sure 90% would choose the pain pill in that situation.

Jimbo3 on August 20, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Logan’s Run much?

Why is it that these abortion/euthenasia/end-of-life-counseling death cultists always believe so fervently that someone else should die for the good of the country, family, society or to ease their own suffering?

When they start offing themselves, I’ll start crediting them with sincerity. In any successful species, this sort of impulse should be self-eliminating, shouldn’t it? I think our worshippers of Anubis aren’t “deathy” enough.

Immolate on August 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Of course they suggest you die after April 18, right after you have paid your taxes…

right2bright on August 20, 2009 at 2:02 PM

hahahahahahah.

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 2:13 PM

Why is it that these abortion/euthenasia/end-of-life-counseling death cultists always believe so fervently that someone else should die for the good of the country, family, society or to ease their own suffering?

Immolate on August 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM

I don’t care what they believe. What offends me is their insistance that I should agree with them completely.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 2:15 PM

This vet to Barry……

I will breathe until I suck every last dollar out of your hide. I don’t care if just my appendix registers as still alive. I do not give you permission to pull the plug, flip the switch, or turn out the lights.

I’ll be dead forever. Might as well stay here as long as possible.

Limerick on August 20, 2009 at 2:15 PM

There are other, more helpful, ways of addressing the issue.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 1:16 PM

How is it more helpful to ignore painful yet realistic contingencies?

orange on August 20, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Then there’s no issue with applying this way of thinking to people with pre-existing conditions, is there?

Tonus on August 20, 2009 at 1:22 PM

I’m not sure what you mean. If it’s possible for someone to face a difficult situation, then there’s value in discussing that situation ahead of time. The more likely it is that that situation will be faced, the more value there is in discussing it.

orange on August 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Pearlman was actually one of about 50 bioethicists who signed a third party brief by a law firm supporting the right of competent patients to request physician-assisted suicide. A rabbi, several teachers in Catholic and Mormon schools and Gerald Dworkin, a noted philosopher, also signed the brief.

He didn’t argue in front of the Supreme Court. Link is here: http://wings.buffalo.edu/faculty/research/bioethics/brf-int.html. It doesn’t look like he’s out of the mainstream on this point.

Jimbo3 on August 20, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Of course some of us may face these difficult situations in our lifetime. My mother had liver cancer. Doctors wanted to put her on a transplant waiting list. She was 62. She didn’t want to be put on the list because she said she’d feel horrible if she got a liver before some child got one. Ended up her cancer had spread and she passed away, but no one had a conversation with her about the cost of a liver transplant, no one cared. If we could have kept her around longer what would it matter? You do what you can for your family. I don’t know what I would have done if some beaurocrat had come around asking her to think about the financial burden or the quality of her life. How dare them want to interfere in our personal lives like that. I sure miss that woman.

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM

First off, sorry for your loss.

I personally think that everybody needs to face these issues and come to their own conclusions about how to deal with end-of-life concerns. It is wrong to force your spouse/children/whoever to be making these decisions on your behalf at a time of great stress. Nevertheless, there is no place in the equation for some government bureaucrat to come by and counsel you with suggestions that you might be better off dead than continuing as a drain on society.

highhopes on August 20, 2009 at 2:39 PM

You do what you can for your family. I don’t know what I would have done if some beaurocrat had come around asking her to think about the financial burden or the quality of her life. How dare them want to interfere in our personal lives like that. I sure miss that woman.

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Like you, I’ve had family members who have had to face end-of-life treatment decisions. Currently, available treatment is limited by technology, insurance policies and personal wealth. It seems positive for a doctor or insurance rep to provide information about what is feasible. Each family should know that ultimately it is their decision about what they have resource for and what the patient wants.

dedalus on August 20, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Obama To Vets: “It would be so nice if you weren’t here.”

David2.0 on August 20, 2009 at 2:57 PM

I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my comments about joining the military.

I know people do it for reasons bigger than themselves.

However, I just believe that as it currently stands, the negatives are slowly outpacing the positives. I understand do it for their own personal reasons, and I don’t doubt the good intentions of those decisions at all.

I suppose I’m just disgruntled with what is being done to those in the military, and what they are “fighting for”

blatantblue on August 20, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Is it that they don’t trust us to make the right decisions in these cases, or that we aren’t making the decision they want us to make? I think it’s the latter. I’d really lose it though if I told a relative we’d do whatever we could for them and abide by their wishes only to have some “agency” tell me, sorry, that’s not the right decision…the right decision is this. Doctors don’t even have the right to do that, do they?

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Each family should know that ultimately it is their decision about what they have resource for and what the patient wants.

dedalus on August 20, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Yea, but people do that every day anyway, why would we legislate this? I think it’s because they want control. Control of the decision.

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Soon veterans, because of their exposure to life and death situations, will be greeted at our borders upon their return by representatives of our very own gulag. If they show any patriotic, republican, constitutional, or Christian tendencies, they will be watched until it is convenient for them to be disapeared.

Solzhenitsyn was very upset with how Russia treated it’s returning soldiers. How different are we? Is it simply a matter of degree of difference, or are we essentialy different so that such a slippery slope will never be approached? And he talked of how he, under different circumstances, could have been one of the guards or interrogators, pointing out that the line of evil is in each heart. The passivity of the common people, the suprise at being accused, the varried appeals to a twisted patriotism, Solzhenitsyn makes for interesting reading.

AnotherOpinion on August 20, 2009 at 3:21 PM

I’m not sure what you mean. If it’s possible for someone to face a difficult situation, then there’s value in discussing that situation ahead of time. The more likely it is that that situation will be faced, the more value there is in discussing it.

orange on August 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Some radical practicioners ask the patient how they’re doing and then react to their free form answers.

Chris_Balsz on August 20, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Yea, but people do that every day anyway, why would we legislate this? I think it’s because they want control. Control of the decision.

scalleywag on August 20, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Maybe some do. I’m more concerned with those on the left who want to reduce, instead of increase, individual responsibility for setting health care priorities. The bigger risk than some bureaucrat persuading patients is that the socialization of the industry would reduce the overall quality of treatments available. Even those eager to pursue treatment may find less is available.

dedalus on August 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Caring for those that have borne the burden of the battle are now considered the burdens, and to hell with their battle.

One of the many reasons that Socialism/Communism are evil: the State is God, the power-monger elite the self-righteous self-anointed priests of the death-cult; humanity’s value reduced to mere cogs in a meaningless meat-machine utopia.

Maquis on August 20, 2009 at 3:48 PM

I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD,
YOU SHALL NOT HAVE OTHER GODS BEFORE ME
- THE FIRST COMMANDMENT

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” – Barack Hussein Obama, August 19, 2009

This quote should go viral.

When they came for the unborn, I didn’t say a word…
when they came for the embryos to take their stem cells for those who were really “persons”; more “productive” and “deserving”, I was silent….and now they come for us.

If we had rocked the town halls, melted the phone lines and voted every loser who supported baby killing out of office long ago, we never would have reached this point.

Yes, many of us spoke out for the unborn, but not nearly enough of us and not nearly loud and long enough. Not nearly as many or as loudly who are, and rightfully so, now speaking out for our own lives and our own pocketbooks.

So many gather now at tea parties and town halls and they are proud to say that they have never before attended a protest or been politically active. NOT EVEN WHEN THE UNBORN WERE AND ARE BEING MURDERED AT THE RATE OF 4300 PER DAY. Let’s not kid ourselves, we have been MIA and allowed 40 million babies to be butchered out of existence.

And many of us have had abortions or been involved in some way in helping an abortion happen. Many of us have repented of this sin, but guilt still slows us down. Not that to speak out for the unborn means that we have to confess our sins to the world. It’s just that the guilt keeps us from really participating fully. Maybe we can try to give our sins, once and for all, to the Mercy of God and let him give us a new heart and show us how infinite His forgiveness is. Scripture says that God will cast our sins away, “as far as the east is from the west, and He will remember them no more.”

And then we can get back to the fact that we are faced with a so-called President who boasts that he is in a self-proclaimed “partnership” with God Almighty regarding matters of Life and Death!

This is the kind of pure evil that we should have expected to emerge from the abortion blood-bath. BHO has happily covered himself in innocent blood. And we put him in a position to cover himself in our own blood, because we didn’t stop it long before we ever heard of him, like maybe when he was 12 years old in 1973, the year abortion became “the law of the land”.

The Demon-in-Chief knows in his own perverted way that this is a spiritual battle, and he has blasphemed in our faces without blinking an eye.

Bottom line, he just told us who was in charge of our lives (and it isn’t God) and by having the temerity to come out and make this statement, he has thrown down the gauntlet; he’s waiting to see whether we will try to dissolve his “partnership”, or let it go as just another “obamaism”, as we like to say here at HA, and remain good little sheeple, to be led to the slaughter.

St. Paul tells us in Scripture that our battle in this life is really “not a battle of flesh and blood” but of the spirits in high places. And many now say they feel as though we are fighting for our lives. And so we are. But in order to gain Almighty God’s help to defeat Obama’s evil schemes, we need to repent of our neglect of the unborn, pray daily for mercy and God’s power, and to INCLUDE THE UNBORN IN THIS FIGHT, so that we will fight as hard for the defenseless child in the womb as we will for ourselves, our parents and family members outide the womb.

How do we specifically include the unborn in this fight?

It’s all there in the Constitution of the United States of America, given to We the People. We amend our Constitution- we gather all of the anger, passion and righteous firepower that is building at tea parties and town halls and we finally pass a Human Life Amendment that would protect all of us, from conception to natural death.
Then, the power of God will come upon us and we will defeat and drive out this evil that is attempting to smother us all. If we fail to finally and effectively come to the defense of these little ones, regardless of what happens to us, I don’t think we can count on help from above. And without that, we are defenseless and unarmed on a battlefield with a savage and merciless enemy.

Then, we and our little unborn brethren will say to Soros, Obama and their countless minions, in the power and authority of the Lord, “Get behind us, satan!”

P.S. I have been thinking about this for a while, and finally wrote it out. Although I am not the best writer, and wish I could express this point more skillfully, I hope you all won’t mind seeing it pop up on a few other appropriate threads.

tigerlily on August 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Isn’t it amazing how emotional and persuasive this booklet gets to be when it’s talking about someone’s choice to refuse care, accept pain and disability, and die.

And yet there can be no allowance whatsoever for appeals to emotion, persuasion, or anything even faintly resembling them when it comes to counseling women on the pros of keeping their babies instead of aborting them.

Why do you suppose that is?

J.E. Dyer on August 20, 2009 at 4:05 PM

We have a lot of old “holier than thou” politicians that should be put in this program, but let these patriots alone and give them all the support they can to live a productive live as long as they can.

hillbilly on August 20, 2009 at 4:33 PM

It is our sacred duty as a nation to restore these veterans to health and a productive life. They gave so much to us anything less than all we can do for them is completely unacceptable.

Herb on August 20, 2009 at 4:33 PM

I am just appalled that our government would treat these Veterans in such a low, dispiciable, disgusting manner. Whatever life any of our veterans have remaining, they should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Their sacrifices should not be forgotten and this is utterly, absolutely unexcusable for our government to pressure them into suicide to save Uncle Sam a buck. After all, without these veterans, the politicians wouldn’t have a country to try to take down and destroy as they are now.

May God bless and have mercy on our Vets!

GrannySunni on August 20, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Hmmm.


You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

- Rudyard Kipling

As true today as it was then.

memomachine on August 20, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Oh, and I guess we are really suppose to feel really bad about calling this crap Nazism?
Seriously,,, take this story, go back in time to about, oh, 1944, publish it and see what it would be called.

…not being able to “shake the blues.”

Depressed? Yep, nothing like having someone tell you suicide could be the answer. That’ll really cheer you up!

“I am a severe financial burden on my family”

You know who is a freaking severe financial burden on families?? This freaking government! Pull the plug!

JellyToast on August 20, 2009 at 6:54 PM

The directive reinstituting the booklet was issued last month.

WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They gave one to me many months ago…
I won’t disclose why…

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Thanks Herb…it means a great deal…

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 7:04 PM

orange on August 20, 2009 at 2:18 PM

I hope you don’t become a burden to those around you…

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 7:08 PM

Thanks to all who truly understand the meaning of what this is really all about and are as appalled by it as I and my family are….

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 7:12 PM

What kind of an SOB doctor tries to get a vet to die. What kind of a monster would push this. Calling Obama Hitler isn’t hyperbole, it’s pretty darn accurate.

Jeff from WI on August 20, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Jeff from WI on August 20, 2009 at 7:33 PM

I can assure you, the doctors and nurses I’ve dealt with of late are first class and want nothing more than to help…
They are so dedicated it’s humbling …I applaud them.

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 8:08 PM

What kind of an SOB doctor tries to get a vet to die. What kind of a monster would push this. Calling Obama Hitler isn’t hyperbole, it’s pretty darn accurate.

Jeff from WI on August 20, 2009 at 7:33 PM

What is life? Life is the Nation. The individual must die anyway. Beyond the life of the individual is the Nation. But how can anyone be afraid of this moment of death, with which he can free himself from this misery, if his duty doesn’t chain himself to this Vale of Tears. Na!

Hitler ranting that 600,000 German soldiers surrendered at Stalingrad, 1942.

Chris_Balsz on August 20, 2009 at 8:17 PM

As a veteran, it pi$$es me off to no end the way we are treated after we’re not useful anymore (“What have you done for us lately?” And that POS shinsucky, I wouldn’t give him a squirt of pi$$ if he was on fire begging for it.

Sam_I_Am on August 20, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Palin and Death Panels….boy is she nutty/sarc

America behold

Are you proud of yourselves?

CWforFreedom on August 20, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Sam_I_Am on August 20, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Do you have problems with the doctors and nurses?
I’m asking cause I’ve never seen anything of significance…

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 8:46 PM

For the What makes your life worth living? quiz, there are only four choices to make.

- Difficult, but worth living
- worth living, but just barely
- not worth living
- can’t answer now

BohicaTwentyTwo on August 20, 2009 at 8:59 PM

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 8:46 PM

Bureaucracy is the problem. Maggots that never served making decisions for those that have.

Sam_I_Am on August 20, 2009 at 9:36 PM

I’m under VA care for a “medical misadventure” that occurred while I was on active duty. I’m wondering when I’m going to get this booklet handed to me. If I had anywhere else to go for help, I’d be there in a new york minute. I was supposed to get surgery last summer on a tumor, but it “slipped through the cracks” and I can’t even see a doctor for another month. My GP did apologize at least. :(

Mini-14 on August 20, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Sam_I_Am on August 20, 2009 at 9:36 PM

Agreed…It took them years to acknowledge what I have…
but after…Doctors and nurses have been great.

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 9:55 PM

Mini-14 on August 20, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Sorry to hear that man…See a patient advocate.

jerrytbg on August 20, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Seriously,,, this is pure evil.
These same people would imprison and fine a person who crushed an eagle’s egg or stomped on a wounded endangered species. Yet they cannot contain themselves at the thought of killing sick humans. If these people love death,, they need to go into the woods and off themselves. They would not be missed. I do not care to even try to understand them or their insane reasoning. They are just pure evil.

JellyToast on August 20, 2009 at 9:58 PM

Funny how the media crawled out from under every rock to “expose” Walter Reed. Where are those beacons of journalistic virtue now?

jdkchem on August 20, 2009 at 10:03 PM

Well since this is an official VA publication I guess I’ll email it to my Family Readiness Officer for approval from the Commanding Officer. Due diligence and all that…

blankminde on August 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM

So, will the next step be to ask anyone joining the military if they want to be suicide bombers? Because the only difference is they want you to off yourself after you get wounded, and you’re not taking anyone with you.

macblanegirl on August 20, 2009 at 11:28 PM

I think I have a pretty good idea of what nationalized healthcare will be like if the “public option/single payer” plan by the Obamites ever becomes reality, and I got it more than 30-years ago when I served in the USMC. Let me explain. Back then, you reported for duty in the morning prior to 8:00am and if you were feeling poorly you requested to go to “sick bay,” which was the base clinic and hospital. When you arrived at sick bay, you typically were greeted by the sight of women and children (military dependents), many of them crying babies, filling the waiting area of the clinic. You checked in, took a seat, and if you were lucky you might only have to wait two hours before you got to see the doc. Hey, first come, first served, ya know? And believe me, you wanted to be lucky, because if it took longer you knew you were going to get a good ass-chewing from your Gunny about shirking your duties and then assigned something really shitty to make up for the time lost at sick bay. After a few trips to sick bay and the subsequent consequences, most of the guys in the unit figured it wasn’t worth it and chose to bite the bullet and suffer their illness while trying to work.
On the occasions when one couldn’t avoid sick bay due to the severity of their health issues, a whole new dynamic came into play, that being that you were usually seen by a Navy Corpsman rather than a doctor or registered nurse. Don’t get me wrong, the Corpsman are a vital part of the military and many, many, have sacrificed their lives while trying to administer care to Marines wounded on the battlefield. But at the time I served, right after the pullout from Saigon, these poor guys were called upon stateside to perform procedures that they weren’t properly trained for because of the sheer volume of people lined up in the waiting room of the clinic/hospital. How do I know? Well, I almost suffered a punctured ear drum and possible death when a corpsman attempted to remove a huge plug of ear wax from my ear canal with a high pressure stream of ice cold water from a device similar to a water pic. Later, on a visit to the base dentist for what should have been a routine teeth cleaning, I left the hospital with ragged, bleeding gums after a corpsman finished with me. Again, I don’t and didn’t blame the corpsman, I blamed the system and the way this type of healthcare was administered. Sick bay was understaffed and the health care professionals that were on duty were so entirely overwhelmed by the numbers of people they had to attend to that proper care often slipped through the cracks.
The point is, when you give an individual or family free, unfettered, government supplied healthcare they will take advantage of it to the nth degree, even if they’re suffering from something as minor as the common cold. Now if they had to pay for a clinic visit, even a minor co-pay, they might choose instead to stay home, take some aspirin, snuggle up under a warm comforter and let it run its course. No waiting in long lines to see a worn out, overstressed doctor or nurse who’s basically going to tell you to go home, take aspirin, drink plenty of fluids, and get some good rest. I’m just sayin’….

Goldy1 on August 20, 2009 at 11:31 PM

jerrytbg I don’t want to complain too hard, it’s totally unrelated to my “medical misadventure”, and they are using tri-care that I’m not really eligible for to get me a “civilian” doctor. Fortunately, the tumor is benign, it’s just very painful and in a bad place.

Mini-14 on August 20, 2009 at 11:53 PM

I feel betrayed by our government. Of course, this isn’t the first time.

Star20 on August 21, 2009 at 12:39 AM

When Bush is in the White House, vets make a convenient bat for the Dems to use for beating Republicans over the head. When Obama’s in the White House, it’s suddenly “Go die, you’re disturbing my inner rainbow.”

Typical. I’d make a comment about “Tommy-this and Tommy-that” but the honorless bastards don’t even live up to that high a (double) standard. Simply pathetic.

Blacksmith on August 21, 2009 at 12:42 AM

Obama To Vets: “It would be so nice if you weren’t here.”

David2.0 on August 20, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Vet to Obama: You first a$$hole!

Old Hippie Vet on August 21, 2009 at 1:04 AM

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