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August 19, 2009

VA Pamphlet...Hey, Have You Considered Killing Yourself?

Gee, why would anyone ever imagine the government would advocate death over expensive health care? I mean, they are just asking questions and helping you plan, right?

Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

...When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender.

I was not surprised to learn that the VA panel of experts that sought to update "Your Life, Your Choices" between 2007-2008 did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. And as you might guess, only one organization was listed in the new version as a resource on advance directives: the Hemlock Society (now euphemistically known as "Compassion and Choices").


I don't think anyone is arguing against end of life planning. The problem is when one of the parties has a finical incentive in the matter that maybe in conflict with your desires.

The government that is big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away.

Added to be clear...my biggest complaint is listing the rebranded Hemlock society as the only resources listed. That's insane.


I fall more in the "in case of catastrophe, do less" category. I have no interest in hanging on to the bitter end so after looking through the pamphlet, I'm not all that freaked out by it. I do think there's a lack of balance.

The bigger issue is, this is something the government should not be involved in. Yes, the nature of the VA means it will be but I don't think we should set up this kind of potentially adversarial set of interests for more people.

Is this based on some as of yet unproven fears? Sure but look at the people Obama surrounds himself with on these issues and his own view of things like abortion (children are something you can be 'punished' with) or infanticide and no, I'm not interested in giving the guy and his supporters the benefit of the doubt or this kind of power.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 03:44 PM

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