Grayson Was Right; Conservatives Want Sick People to DIE!
"If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, ``they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
David Brooks has a picture of Ebenezer Scrooge tattooed on his back.
The New York Times columnist has penned an op-ed piece in which he extolls the virtues of those who are brave enough, cost-conscious enough and patriotic enough to live a shorter life rather than seek treatment for their life-threatening diseases.
It almost reads like something written by a satirist, lampooning the conservative attitude so accurately expressed on the floor of the House of Representatives by former Congressman Alan Grayson.
Oh, Golly! Remember all the harrumphing and throat clearing and garment rending when Grayson said THAT?
The fiscal implications are all around. A large share of our health care spending is devoted to ill patients in the last phases of life. This sort of spending is growing fast. Americans spent $91 billion caring for Alzheimer’s patients in 2005. By 2015, according to Callahan and Nuland, the cost of Alzheimer’s will rise to $189 billion and by 2050 it is projected to rise to $1 trillion annually — double what Medicare costs right now.
Those GREEDY Alzheimer's patients. Costing America all that money, then forgetting that we even spent it on them!
Obviously, we are never going to cut off Alzheimer’s patients and leave them out on a hillside.
Oh, David! Don't put those kind of limits on the Republicans! They already have the hills picked out! Nice hills, where the Alzheimer's patients can wander around until they die of starvation.
We are never coercively going to give up on the old and ailing. But it is hard to see us reducing health care inflation seriously unless people and their families are willing to do what Clendinen is doing — confront death and their obligations to the living.
In other words, we are never going to be forced to give up on the old and ailing, even though we should give up on the old and ailing!
In the online version of this column let me provide links to three other essays, which offer other perspectives on why we should accept the finitude of life and the naturalness of death. They are: “Born Toward Dying,” by Richard John Neuhaus, “L’Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?” by Leon Kass and “Thinking About Aging,” by Gilbert Meilaender.Continued on the next page