My mom and her siblings are plotting to kill their elderly mother. Well, according to the rumors being spread about proposed health care legislation, this is what they’re doing. It’s true.
They meet every several months to discuss “advance care planning” issues regarding my grandmother, who is now in an assisted living facility due to dementia and related health concerns. They discuss such awful things as “living wills and durable powers of attorney.” Now that their mother is not able to make fully informed decisions regarding her care, a family member needs to have power of attorney to make important decisions regarding her ongoing care. This person with the “role and responsibilities of a health care proxy” needs to be informed about “advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.” It sounds pretty sinister.
As they gather in their private meetings, my relatives have no doubt discussed possible resources for providing for my grandmother’s ongoing care as her mental and physical health deteriorates. Perhaps they even consulted “a list of national and State-specific resources to assist… families with advance care planning,” or discussed the “continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice,” as well as “orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders…” I know, it’s quite shocking.
According to the logic of opponents of health care reform, this kind of “advance care planning consultation” my family members are doing is exactly the same as figuring out how and when to euthanize our mother/grandmother so that she’ll no longer be a financial or emotional burden on our family. See, the words in quotations above are taken directly from page 425 of HR3200, the page that critics are citing when they claim that health care reform will mean that senior citizens will be forced to meet with doctors who will bully them into committing suicide or signing away their rights to ongoing medical treatment. I took a look at that page of proposed legislation as quoted at factcheck.org, and realized that all that fancy talk of life-sustaining treatment and discussing important matters ahead of time (so that in the high emotion of an end-of-life crisis the family can already have a plan in place) must be just coded, secret language for “how to kill old people.”
So, given that my mother, aunts, and uncles are already engaging in the kinds of actions listed in the proposed legislation, I now know the truth: they’re plotting to kill my grandmother.
No, I don’t really believe that. I know that they are all extremely caring people, trying to make difficult decisions in what can be a very emotional and stressful situation. I also believe that giving senior citizens the option to meet with a medical professional to discuss end-of-life issues as part of their ongoing health care is a responsible and ethical thing to do.
(And if you think it’s crass of me to use the example of my aging grandmother to make a satirical point in a blog post, you must be even more upset that millions of elders in the U.S. are being deliberately lied to in order to score a political victory and block health care reform.)