The Hospice Guy has noticed that Obama uses end-of-life care to refer to the elderly simply seeking healthcare, instead of differentiating between people who are actually in their last days, needing care that will take them through to their death. And in so doing, he worries that Obama is confusing the intent of hospice as a place where people can go to die in peace and as much comfort as possible once they have CHOSEN to die.
As the Hospice Blog points out, Obama's use of the term is almost a window into how little he really knows about the day-to-day realities of the medical world. And whether you're for or against public healthcare, it's a little scary to think of anything but the utmost experts revising our healthcare system. Here's the video he shares.
(Please note: the title of this YouTube film is misleading. Obama is, of course, not that dismissive to the woman.)
The woman asked if her mother, at 99, could have had a pacemaker under public healthcare, even though she was old because she had much higher than normal quality of life. I think the bigger question she was getting at was, what if it looks bad on paper, but when you see the patient in person, you can understand where a procedure makes sense—hence the reason she says, "A picture is worth a thousand words." And Obama's answer is disappointingly to infer that the surgery was not going to help (even though it did) and to tell her mother to take a pain pill!?
He's telling her, no, right? I've watched this about five times trying to get through the political speak, but that's what's happening here, I think. He's saying, no, in essence, that the bigger concern is trimming the waste from the healthcare system and her individual mother matters less? Other interpretations?
I love that people are discussing healthcare in such a high-profile way right now—especially when it comes to end-of-life matters like resource allocation in the last years, what constitutes quality of life that is good enough, etc. But I hate that the discussion is being handled with such vitriol. And I hate even more that a bunch of politicians, mostly constitutional lawyers, with voters and elections on their minds are going to decide how healthcare issues should be managed.
I hope the legislators are consulting some good healthcare professionals behind the scenes.