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The Obama administration claims that a health care takeover by government won't restrict access to care. Everybody will get more care for less money, the president has said. Of course, something has to give. One likely target for rationing will be care in the later stages of life. Bureaucratic disregard for the value of all life is insinuated in a government manual known as "the Death Book."
There is no attempt to ask people, "What would it take for you to want to live?" Instead, the booklet focuses on wanting to die. "Your Life, Your Choices" originally was put together by the Clinton administration and then shelved during the George W. Bush presidency. Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives during the Bush administration, said the booklet was problematic because it made injured veterans feel like a burden and encouraged severely injured soldiers to want to die.
After a ruckus over the booklet this past week, the Obama administration added a new note saying the work was being revised. Either way, the Death Book is instructive as a reflection on Obamacare priorities and perspectives and what the administration might view as a "waste." This is important because Mr. Obama and other administration officials regularly talk about a need to cut back on what they term as massive waste in health care.
Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."
Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.