Those readers who follow me around the Internet and read every word that falls from my keyboard may have picked up that I have been concerned of late years about the direction in which the Republican Party is going, particularly on life issues. Nor was I a committed apologist for the Bush administration. I had my worries from the first moment a Bush appointee uttered the phrase "settled law of the land" concerning Roe v. Wade.
Be that as it may, I'm also a great believer in giving credit where it's due and, even more importantly, in not allowing ourselves to become so embittered by the failure of the ostensibly conservative party to be fully committed on our issues that we just snarl and grouse every time the name of some Republican President comes up. Ah, Bush (sneer), etc. Nor should we get into the habit of making sloppy, wide-ranging moral equivalency claims. I'm afraid some of our paleo brethren are rather inclined to these faults, and indeed bitterness and a feeling of having been betrayed can breed them.
Now comes just one interesting bit of news, apropos of the subject of administration change, that reminds us of something: When the Obama administration came in, it came with a whole slew of bureaucrats and functionaries in every area of the government which replaced those of the Bush administration, and this is having all sorts of effects, many of which we never even hear about, in areas that should concern conservatives and pro-lifers.
This article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the New Order in the VA hospitals. Apparently for a little while during the Bush admin. a book was being used for end-of-life counseling in the VA hospitals which is, er, questionable as far as its objectivity on matters of refusing vs. requesting care. Let's just say that the only resource group on advance directives mentioned in the book called (ahem) Your Life, Your Choices is the Hemlock Society, and perhaps we shall have said it all. For more details, I refer you to the article. Somebody higher up in the Bush administration got the word on Your Life, Your Choices and mercifully pulled the plug on it.
Well, there's a new gang in town, and it's baaaack.
And to make things even worse, a new order in place for VA hospitals as of July, 2009, tells all primary care physicians to raise end-of-life issues with all veterans and refer them to this book. Jolly. As Jim Towey, author of the WSJ article, puts it, "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."
This is disgraceful, and it is a salutary reminder that many lives can turn on a change of administration in ways we might not even have thought of. Furthermore, if anyone is still intent on telling us that our concerns about the end-of-life provisions originally in the House version of Obamacare were misguided, I urge him to try, even a little, to connect the dots. Towey puts it well:
If President Obama is sincere in stating that he is not trying to cut costs by pressuring the disabled to forgo critical care, one good way to show that commitment is to walk two blocks from the Oval Office and pull the plug on "Your Life, Your Choices." He should make sure in the future that VA decisions are guided by values that treat the lives of our veterans as gifts, not burdens.
HT Wesley J. Smith at Secondhand Smoke