Congress defines a “mostly dead” status, avoids health care rationing

The Washington Enquirer

July 26, 2010

Congress is working on a law permitting states to expand the definition of “death” to include a “mostly dead” status.

This is the first time that the federal government has addressed the definition of death since the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) was passed in 1981. (This act can be viewed at http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/fnact99/1980s/udda80.htm.)

That model legislation extended the definition of death to include “irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.”  Prior to this, the legal definition of death revolved around the “irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions.”  All states were encouraged to incorporate the UDDA into state law; most states did.

In this century, it is not advancement in brain wave technology but advancements made in social engineering that is changing opinions.  Passage of the 2009 Clean Air Act and the Public Option on the Health Reform Bill of 2009 are noted as monumental steps forward.  These social engineering advancements appear to be driving another look at the definition of death.

However, social engineering is under attack.  There has been a totally unexpected and sudden expansion of health care costs in the past year.  There has also been a totally unexpected and sudden decrease in tax taken in since last year.  Some attribute this directly to the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill and the huge amount of deficit spending!  Many health care providers, insurance companies, and small businesses (but none too big to fail) have gone out of business as a result of the Health Care Reform.  The current crisis in Health Care has caused some to say that the Health Care Crisis that existed before the Federal Government reformed Health Care was, in retrospect, a less severe crisis.

Earlier this year, the Health Care Czar created the Commission on Health Care Cost Cutting (CHCCC) to study cost cutting measures which could decrease the cost of Health Care.  Experts in other countries with a socialized health care testified that rationing of health care services to individuals is inescapable when cutting costs.  The commission vowed to find a better solution than rationing care.  They were concerned about the problems that rationing would cause because of medical ethics and legal precedent in this country.

The commission believes that it can avoid rationing to cut costs by expanding the definition of death to include “really dead” and “mostly dead” categories of death.  A person can be proclaimed “really dead” when he or she achieves a state consistent with the more traditional definitions of death, i.e., irreversible cessation of circulatory, respiratory, or brain wave functions.  A person can be proclaimed “mostly dead” when it has been determined that it is not cost effective to provide medical care.  Of course, a person must be moved from “mostly dead” into the “really dead” category before burial or cremation.

There are no medical ethics involved in not providing treatment to any dead person—really or mostly dead.  Therefore, a reduced number of patients can be achieved without rationing health care.  The definition of what constitutes “mostly dead” can be adjusted until the amount of care available is adequate to serve all people who are alive—i.e., not really or mostly dead.  This should eliminate all need for rationing of care.

The CHCCC has given guidelines to Congress for states to define “mostly dead” status, which is being called Princess Bride Regulation on Death.  The current anticipated wording for the statute, according to an anonymous source, is:

“Any individual whose life expectancy is less than 8.5 years given the nature of his or her ailment when the cost to treat that ailment is likely to exceed the maximum annual cost of medical services as adjusted yearly by the Congressional Budget Office can be given Mostly Dead status and denied all but over the counter pain killing medication.”

It is anticipated that some botched procedures will be severe enough to move people from being alive to being “mostly dead” under the definition.  Since people who are dead cannot sue, this will also relieve courts of the bulk of burdensome health care cases from dissatisfied customers.

There are some kinks still to be ironed out in this groundsetting change.  The Euthanasia Guidance and Resource Organization has opined that if someone is “mostly dead,” it isn’t euthanasia to move them to “really dead.”  Congress still strongly opposes the legalization of Euthanasia on moral grounds.

“Mostly dead” status is not an issue for Congress, who has a quality health care plan outside of the public’s health care system.  However, it could affect union members.  Congress is considering an amendment which would exempt any member of any “approved” union from being declared “almost dead.” They would have to be “really dead” to be denied health care.  Additionally, Congress is expected to allow Union Leaders to determine if members can leave the union for any reason other than retirement and maintain the exemption from being “mostly dead.”

States are not required to adopt the “mostly dead” category of death, but those who do not will be given no federal funding for any kind of public assisted health care and will have all stimulus money immediately suspended.

The bill is expected to pass before the August recess.

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Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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