So the new Japanese finance minister said something about not keeping old people artificially alive because it incurs unnecessary public costs, and some folks went predictably ballistic over it. See? This is an example of socialized medicine! They’ll just discard old folks when they’re no longer useful! ZOMG DEATH SQUADS!
Here’s the thing I don’t get about a lot of Conservatives, who are for the most part stringently against socialized health care:
Most of lifetime Medicare costs are incurred in the last year of life and palliative care. You can’t bitch about the insane costs of the health care system and then not have a problem with taxpayers being on the hook for a quarter million dollars so that a 93-year-old lady can live for another five months in a nursing home, bedridden and unaware of her surroundings. (Ask anyone who works in one—a lot of those places are about “let’s bill what we can while the patient is alive, because at death, that money is ‘wasted’.”) But suggest that it may not be a wise expenditure to buy Grandma another five months of morphine-hazed semi-sleep with a suitcase full of looted public cash, and people flip out. How dare you quantify the value of a life! That’s a slippery slope! You want to disconnect feeding tubes and respirators next to save a few bucks?
Well, if every life is so valuable that no amount of public money should be spared to extend the life of a 93-year-old hospice patient a few months, then STOP BITCHING ABOUT TAXES. And stop bitching about socialized health care. If five months of your grandma’s life are worth an unlimited amount of taxpayer cash, so are five months of life for the bum under the highway bridge who pickled his liver with cheap hooch for twenty years. Anything else is a slippery slope, right?
It seems to me that if the pro-life Conservatives were consistent in their views on the priceless nature of life, they’d be flag bearers for socialized medicine.