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August 20 2009

My Heart Will Go On (If the End-of-Life Counselor Says It Can)

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

Nat Hentoff, nationally renowned civil libertarian and longtime columnist with the Village Voice, has an excellent article on RealClearPolitics about why he is "finally scared of a White House administration." (Disclaimer: we were colleagues together at the Cato Institute.) Hentoff reminds us of several interesting remarks made by the President in the past few months:

Here is what Obama said in an April 28 New York Times interview (quoted in a Washington Times July 9 editorial) in which he describes a government end-of-life services guide for the citizenry as we get to a certain age, or are in a certain grave condition. Our government will undertake, he says, a "very difficult democratic conversation" about how "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care" costs.

He has a great quote from Wesley J. Smith, author of Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, reminding us that the devil's in the implementation - and not just the bill.

"Remember that legislation itself is only half the problem with Obamacare. Whatever bill passes, hundreds of bureaucrats in the federal agencies will have years to promulgate scores of regulations to govern the details of the law.

"This is where the real mischief could be done because most regulatory actions are effectuated beneath the public radar. It is thus essential, as just one example, that any end-of-life counseling provision in the final bill be specified to be purely voluntary ... and that the counseling be required by law to be neutral as to outcome. Otherwise, even if the legislation doesn't push in a specific direction - for instance, THE GOVERNMENT REFUSING TREATMENT - the regulations could." (Emphasis added.)

Not only do we have to be worried about the seen, but also the unseen? Sounds like Bastiat. Or a James Cameron movie.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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