❄ Boehner: “euthanasia”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

❄ Boehner: “euthanasia”

An astonishing report in The New York Times quoted Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner as speaking of Democratic health care reform proposals and “government-encouraged euthanasia” in the same breath.

A provision of the House bill would provide Medicare coverage for the work of doctors who advise patients on life-sustaining treatment and ‘end-of-life services,’ including hospice care.

“Conservative groups have seized on this provision as evidence that the bill could encourage the rationing of health care. The Family Research Council, for example, said the bill would ‘limit end-of-life care.’

“The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said, ‘This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.’  ” [Note 1]

Did Boehner make the statement attributed to him? It seemed so far-fetched, so outlandish, that I went looking for a source. What I found was an official Republican statement, on the website of the “House Republican Leader,” that goes even further, incorporating reference to “physician-assisted suicide”. [Note 2]

The Republican ‘leadership’ in the US House of Representatives wants the American people to associate Congressional proposals for health care reform with “government-encouraged euthanasia” and “physician-assisted suicide”. That is the inescapable reading of an artfully-drafted statement by Republican Minority Leader John Boehner and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter. The text of their statement reads:

Washington, Jul 23 – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) today issued the following joint statement regarding a provision targeting seniors contained in Section 1233 of H.R. 3200:

“Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments, and may place seniors in situations where they feel pressured to sign end of life directives they would not otherwise sign. This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law. At a minimum this legislative language deserves a full and open public debate – the sort of debate that is impossible to have under the politically-driven deadlines Democratic leaders have arbitrarily set for enactment of a health care bill.

“This provision of the legislation is a throwback to 1977, when the old Department of Health Education and Welfare proposed federal promotion of living wills for cost-savings purposes described as ‘enormous.’ At that time, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago decried this effort by saying: ‘The message is clear: government can save money by encouraging old people to die a little sooner than they otherwise would. Instead of being regarded with reverence, and cherished, human life is subject in this view to a utilitarian cost-benefit calculus and can be sacrificed to serve fiscal policy and the sacred imperative of trimming a budget.’

“With three states having legalized physician-assisted suicide, this provision could create a slippery slope for a more permissive environment for euthanasia, mercy-killing and physician-assisted suicide because it does not clearly exclude counseling about the supposed benefits of killing oneself.

“Health care reform that fails to protect the sanctity and dignity of all human life is not reform at all.”

So: what have we here? Distortion. Fear-mongering. Intention. Innuendo. Callousness. Desperation. Vacuity. Sleaze. Propaganda. Moral corruption. An insult to the House, to their Oath, and to the American Public.

What should be done? Boehner and McCotter should resign from the House. They should withdraw their statement. And their Republican colleagues, each individually, in both the House and the Senate, should dissociate themselves from this statement and the methods of deceit and distortion it embodies. Disowning the Boehner-McCotter statement should be a condition of being admitted to ‘bipartisan negotiations’ with Democrats about the terms of national health care legislation.

Will they repudiate Boehner-McCotter? I doubt it. But remember: the implication of their statement is that health-care advocates favor euthanasia and promotion of suicide. They say—not a matter of interpretation or implication—that terms of HR3200 “target” seniors. Advocates of rational health-care reform, of whatever party or independent standing, should not allow such big lies to go unrebutted.

[Note 1] Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn, “Democrats Push Health Care Plan While Issuing Assurances on Medicare,” The New York Times, 28 July 2009.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/health/policy/29health.html.

[Note 2] Statement by House GOP Leaders Boehner and McCotter on End-of-Life Treatment Counseling in Democrats’ Health Care Legislation. http://republicanleader.house.gov/news/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=139131. 23 July 2009.

[Bruce’s Blog: 2009.07.29 Post: B03 Short Link: P=23 Front Door Index: http://blog.learnworld.com Permalink: http://www.learnworld.com/BRUCE/uncategorized/❄-boehner-“euthanasia”/]