Sunday, July 26, 2009

Inconvenient Classes of Persons and Health Care

A state-run health care system looks pretty good on paper. It would work very well, provided that a few conditions were met, including, but not limited to:
  • Everyone at the leadership level being
    • Competent
    • Selfless
    • Disinterested in anything but each citizen's
      • Health
      • Life
  • All citizens being
    • In reasonably good health
      • And likely to stay that way
    • Able to fully cooperate with the system
    • Diligent in their efforts to maintain their own health
    • Engaged in safe occupations and lifestyles
In a nation where conditions like these were met, health care as a government service should work fairly well.

I ran into a blog post this morning, with these paragraphs:
"...Throughout the 20th Century, the success of revolutionary proposals has been hampered by the existence of inconvenient classes of persons. In the Russian Communist Revolution, Ukrainian 'kulaks' stood in the way of a glorious modern Moscow. 'Fetuses' stood in the way of a Sexual Revolution attempting to dissociate sex from commitment and fecundity.

"In the 21st Century, the elderly stand in the way of a revolution in health care. They're just to darn expensive to make health care affordable for 'everyone'.

"In the 20th Century, ideological revolutions mitigated the brake-effects of undesirable classes by giving them euphemistic titles and then killing them. The elderly in the U.S. don't yet have a name I can stick in quotes, but they have a plan for eliminating their brake-effect on the health care revolution - HR 3200, 'America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009'...."
(The Catholic Key Blog)
Elsewhere in the post, I was impressed by terms like "QALY (quality-adjusted life years)," that generally don't work their way into media spots touting the excellence of our leaders' plans for a real change in health care.

Since it looks like "eliminating fraud, waste and abuse" would lower the medicare budget by only about 1%, health care for the over-65 crowd will have to be rationed. And "QALY (quality-adjusted life years)" sounds so much nicer than "rationed health care."

There's quite a bit more in the post, mostly an analysis of current federal health-care proposals and a recent Forbes magazine article.

I strongly recommend that anyone who is not in their mid-to-late-twenties, in excellent health, and willing to die for the state when they become unproductive or inconvenient, read Stand in the Way of a Revolution - And Die! - Health Care Edition."

America, and some other countries where people haven't been having children anywhere near enough to maintain the population, has problems. Actually, America is still fairly well-off, since people are still coming here from other parts of the world. But even here, we've got a situation where people are living longer - and haven't, by and large, seen to it that there's someone around to take their place.

No matter what's done, I think the next several decades of American history are going to be messy. There are, and will be, very hard choices to make. It's likely that families will have to decide whether a trip to Disney World is more important than another month's care for an older family member.

As a Catholic, I have rather well-defined beliefs about the sanctity of human life. Before I converted, I already had decided that putting my faith in princes or their contemporary analogues was a bad idea.

All thing considered, about the last organization I want deciding who gets health care and who doesn't - who lives and who dies - is an agency of the federal government.

Somewhat-related posts: Featured Post:
A tip of the hat to newadvent on Twitter, for the heads-up on The Catholic Key's post.

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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.