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The latest paranoia drenched half-truth to emerge in an apparent GOP race to the bottom is a doozy. A guest on former Senator Fred Thompson’s radio show, Betsy McCaughey, stirs up the scare factor by claiming that on page 425 of the massive HR 3200 is a provision requiring seniors to go through “mandatory” counseling that encourages them to end their life or demonstrate why they should be allowed to live every five years.
Curious as to what in the world could be misinterpreted in such a way, I looked up the resolution, scrolled down to page 425, then back up a page to 424, where content begins so that I could get a greater scope of context. Read out of context, the content still seems fairly benign (for example, counseling about establishign power-of-attorney for your children or loved ones in case of debiliating condition or accidents, and setting up a living will so that your family has a road map of what your decisions would be regarding life support, is a far cry from government mandated suicide), but I wanted to understand more fully what this applied to. When you go back to page 424 however you learn that the content is an addition to the existing Social Security Act. Specifically, it calls for the addition of new content under section 1861 paragraph (s)(2), which defines procedures covered under Social Security. While I’m not a lawyer, it seems to me that, rather than “mandatory suicide”, what page 425 and on does is define additional services, to include hospice care and end of life counseling for terminally ill patients, that shall be covered by Social Security and sets recommendations for regularly counseling patients on their various options as their conditions change.
In fact Page 427, lines 13 through 17, specifically spell out that doctors have the power to “sign orders for life sustaining treatment.”
13 ‘‘(II) distributes or makes accessible such
14 orders to physicians and other health profes
15 sionals that (acting within the scope of the pro
16 fessional’s authority under State law) may sign
17 orders for life sustaining treatment;
Now, we need the constitutional lawyers to weigh in on this, someone with more authority on these sorts of things than myself. However from my time in newspapers, as well as my time unraveling various state laws for training manuals, I’m pretty sure that my reading of this is valid.
It’s all about context folks. There is weird stuff going on out there. Our government is most definitely involved in various shadowy programs we know little or nothing about.
A conspiracy to kill off the baby-boomers, however, is not one of them.