1200 vets mistakenly told they’re dying from ALS
posted at 2:55 pm on August 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Just as the Obama administration tries to reassure people that the government can manage the health-care system more competently than what we have now, one of its single-payer systems demonstrates exactly what we can expect from ObamaCare. The VA mistakenly informed 1200 veterans that they have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a 100% fatal condition. They blamed it on a “coding error” (via JWF):
At least 1,200 veterans across the country have been mistakenly told by the Veterans Administration that they suffer from a fatal neurological disease.
One of the leaders of a Gulf War veterans group says panicked veterans from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming have contacted the group about the error.
Denise Nichols, the vice president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, says the VA is blaming a coding error for the mistake.
The notifications went out in a letter intending to inform ALS sufferers about the benefits available to them through the VA. At that time, one of those benefits was end-of-life counseling and access to “Your Life, Your Choices,” the booklet that refers veterans to the Hemlock Society when they feel life is no longer worth living. I wonder how many of these veterans were given the booklet?
By the way, that booklet has been removed from at least a portion of the VA website, according to David Freddoso:
Jim Towey wrote last week in the Wall Street Journal that Obama’s Veterans’ Affairs department had revived a controversial and previously discontinued 53-page pamphlet on end-of-life issues for wounded soldiers. The debate over what Towey calls the “Death Book” bodes so poorly for the president’s position in the health care debate that, after two segments on Fox News discussing the pamphlet this morning, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has apparently pulled the booklet from one part of its website where it had been linked by several bloggers. (UPDATE: The document still exists in another spot on the site, as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg informs me.)
This certainly will have people feeling very confident in the ability of the federal government to issue diktats on medical care. Can you imagine what these veterans and their families went through before eventually discovering that the VA made a “coding error”?