Two recent reports make it painfully clear that collectivized, welfare-state government sees the people as either taxpaying assets or costly liabilities. Welfare-state governments, whatever bromides they may utter for public consumption, have no hope for the amelioration or transformation of the individual condition. The poor are assumed to be a lifetime liability, for example. The fully-evolved welfare state pretends to make no judgment as to whether what it observes in this regard is what should be; it acts as if whatever is, is right.
If you’re old and sick, nothing you have contributed in the past is considered payment for your current burden on the public purse. In any case, regardless of what you have done, the order in which you show up in the back of an ambulance could well dictate whether you live to see tomorrow or not – and that’s no big deal, because you were going to cost money at some point anyway.
Unconstrained by “religious” morality, welfare states propose to treat liabilities the way any organization treats them: that is, they propose to minimize them as ruthlessly as possible.
At PJ Media, Mike McNally has a summary today of a new report on Britain’s National Health System, the program that provoked so much dance-worship and so many strobe lights at the Olympic Games in London last summer. The report details all the things we’ve heard about before. McNally highlights this point (emphasis in original):
[A] controversial “end of life” care program for elderly and terminally ill patients known as the Liverpool Care Pathway is to be phased out, after it emerged that hospitals were abusing the system to hasten the death of patients by withdrawing food and drink.
This is arguably the greatest scandal: patients were starved and neglected not because of staff shortages or bad management, but as a result of deliberate policies aimed at freeing up hospital beds and saving money. Staff even received financial incentives for placing patients on the program.
“Deliberate policies aimed at freeing up hospital beds and saving money.” (Even with the cost-saving and liability-shedding, it bears noting, Britain’s NHS is permanently in the red.)
With that in mind, let’s turn to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report from June that estimated late-term abortions save the government a lot of money. CBO’s cost analysis for H.R. 1797, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, estimates that the current 11,000-odd late-term abortions each year in the U.S. save Medicaid millions. Specifically, what we might call the “birth-liability” could add at least $225 million to the cost of Medicaid through 2023, if Congress can somehow override Obama’s promised veto of the 20-week ban. (If a lot of women who would otherwise have had late-term abortions don’t have their abortions earlier in their pregnancies, but instead go ahead and deliver babies, the additional Medicaid cost could rise to $400 million. Such is the logic of CBO scoring.) Delivering all those live babies could also add $170 million to the cost of state health programs over the same period.
The leftosphere, filling its human-microphone role, obediently retailed the talking point that the GOP abortion bill would raise the deficit. The alternative concept that government programs should not be paying for 40% of American childbirths, as they do today, is unimaginable to the left. Once you’re fully bought into the welfare state, there is no appeal outside of its “poverty of resources” logic, and the argument from “saving money” can triumph over any number of moral concerns.
I hope it’s obvious from the CBO’s and left-wing’s treatment of this topic that America is already in the big middle of the great morality sell-out. The Brits may have reached the finish line first, but we’re running in the same race.
That said, and in case you need more anecdotal evidence, consider the information I received this week from a correspondent, whose friend’s primary-care doctor no longer accepts Medicare. This is the friend’s story (emphasis added; plus, I’ve left only capital initials for the names):
Last night JW was telling me about her internist, Dr. D, who has taken himself out of Medicare and has a direct relationship with his patients; he treats, they pay him. JW developed an eye problem. The eye doctor told her it was due to diabetes. That was a surprise to her since Dr. D had never diagnosed her as diabetic
She wrote him a letter telling him of the eye doctor’s claim. At her appointment with Dr. D last week she reminded him of her letter and that she had not gotten a response from him. He told her all the work he’s done on her has never shown her to be diabetic. Her eye problem can be caused by many things including high blood pressure which he has treated her for.
He went on to say that he threw the letter away because he didn’t want it found in her records and have diabetes attached to her in a national data base, thus determining what treatment she might be denied based on that info. He’s very protective of his patients’ records. Since he’s pulled out of the Medicare loop he’s not required to log patient information in a shared data base. It all remains between doctor and patient.
I’m sure there are many similar stories out there, as the provisions of Obamacare – such as the national database – kick in. Obamacare is being built from the ground up to find reasons to withhold medical care from its customers.
And why should its perspective be any different from that of other welfare-state “health care” programs? These programs are always sold to the public as a source of compassion and comfort for the sick. But they inevitably become programs for minimizing national “liabilities,” because “governmental compassion” is a contradiction in terms. Government doesn’t exist to have compassion; it exists to enforce. That is its function. When you turn health care over to the government, what you get is enforcement.
Some things, like cost-cutting and death, can be administered through enforcement. But others, like compassion and sacrificial care, cannot. We have before us the living proof of this unbreachable truth, in the death brackets represented by abortion-as-cost-shedding in the United States, and euthanasia-as-cost-shedding in the United Kingdom. The welfare state’s inevitable end is as a minister of death, and we are on its doorstep.
J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,” Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.
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