Obamacare will likely Include a Liverpool Care Pathway type of Death Panel

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 10th, 2012

Week in Review

There are no death panels in the NHS.  At least, by name.  Though some would say the Liverpool Care Pathway is a death panel (see NHS constitution reform to include new end-of-life care commitments posted 11/4/2012 in the guardian).

New commitments on end-of-life care and single-sex wards are set to be included in the NHS constitution under proposals unveiled on Monday…

Rules on involving patients and families in treatment decisions are being strengthened following an outcry over secretive use of the Liverpool Care Pathway which involves withdrawal of fluids and food…

Imelda Redmond, director of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie, said: “The Liverpool Care Pathway has enabled thousands of people to experience dignified care in the last hours and days of life. It was developed to spread the hospice model of end of life care into hospitals and other healthcare settings.

“We have become increasingly concerned about the damaging media coverage which reports negative experiences of people in hospital and the end of life. That is why we are calling for the next independent national audit to be brought forward so that we can identify as soon as possible where these failings are taking place.

One thing the British have learned is that sick people who don’t have the decency to die quickly cost a lot of money.  And these sick people who refuse to die quickly consume a lot of NHS resources.  Resources that they are no longer paying for as they have long since left the workforce.  So some family members have had their loved ones placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway even though some questioned why later?  Was the decision made in the best interests of the patient consuming all of those health care resources?  Or was the decision made in the best interests of the health service trying to make those limited health care resources stretch as far as possible?

They don’t call it a death panel.  But when it appears they’re choosing to let some people die for economic reasons (to stretch those limited health care resources as far as possible) one can’t help but think of the Liverpool Care Pathway as a death panel.  Hence the revision of the NHS constitution.

Obamacare doesn’t include any death panels.  By name.  But it includes a lot of ‘as the authority shall determine’.  Which means some bureaucrat has the last say on spending decisions.  And if those spending decisions involve the withdrawal of fluids and food it is a life and death decision.  Exactly the kind of decision a death panel will make.

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