Monday, November 18, 2013
Death, dying, medicare, and obamacare
Funny how people moan and groan about their taxes, government waste, and "entitlement programs" yet no one wants to discuss how to start changing all of it.
Twenty percent of Medicaid dollars go to one percent of the people who use it. Many are the elderly in nursing homes.
Medicare spends 25% of its $551 billion annual budget on medical treatment in a person's last year of life.
One way to save money would be stop spending billions of dollars of machines and drugs that do nothing except prolong our misery when we get older. In the United States we treat our pets more compassionately at the end of their lives than we do our people.
It would be better to have discussions about how we want to die when we're young. If someone wants to be kept alive at the end through machines, fine, it would be their choice. But I'm sure many of us would opt for hospice care. If money was re-directed from hospitals and doctors who charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for tests and medical equipment toward hospice care, not only would billions of dollars be saved in our taxpayer money but people, and their relatives, could be spared the horrific way of dying that now exists for many Americans - plugged into machines in an intensive care unit of a hospital.
If someone is 20 years old, you do everything it takes to save their life. When someone is 90 years old and frail, it would be best to just let nature take its course.
Nothing is going to change though. Most Americans just don't want to talk about it. Others make death and dying into a political or religious issue. If that's the case, then I hope everyone just stops complaining about the national debt and taxes. Because we already know where the money is going and how to change things.