[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/13/jchealthcare0813.jpg caption=" Should there be a limit on health care for elderly and terminally ill people?"]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Medical care for the terminally ill is a controversial aspect of health care reform that hasn't gotten much attention yet.
Pres. Obama raised the issue in an April interview when talking about his grandmother's final days. He said his 86-year-old grandmother wound up having hip replacement surgery during the final weeks of her life, after already being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The president said he didn't know how much the surgery cost, and that he would have paid it out of pocket because it was his grandmother. He also said that if someone had told him she couldn't have a hip replacement and had to suffer even more in the last days of her life "that would be pretty upsetting."
But, the president added that's where "you just get into some very difficult moral issues" when deciding what medical treatment to give to terminally ill patients. Pres. Obama suggested that the chronically ill and elderly account for as much as 80% of our health care costs.
It's certainly a tricky moral question to say the least. On an intellectual level, it may be one thing to say it doesn't make sense for the country to spend so much money on people who are dying. But on a personal level, when it's your loved one suffering, it's an entirely different issue.
SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Should there be a limit on health care for elderly and terminally ill people?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
I'm 48 years old, HIV+, and healthy, but I have given this a good deal of thought. My answer is "Yes". I don't understand all the money spent on the terminally ill. It appears to be primarily based on a fear of death. I've made my decision on this issue. My instructions for myself to my loved ones are: Provide necessary pain management, say "Good Bye", and allow me to die naturally (preferably at home or in a natural setting).
My mother had a hip replacement 13 months before she died from cancer. My father’s insurance covered it, fortunately. Because of this, my mother was able to have a higher quality of life during her last year. She was able to regain her driver’s license and play on the floor with her infant granddaughter. This was a tremendous benefit to her quality of life. While on paper it makes no sense to do this, it needs to be done because it is the compassionate thing to do.
I am a registered ICU nurse. Far too many times – I have seen the useless, invasive procedures and tests that we do on patients that make no difference in their outcomes… All of us as health care workers see their suffering and the staggering cost. There has to be a better way of letting patients die in dignity and peace. As human beings, one thing we are certain of is death. Letting your doctor talk to you and your family about your choices is a good way to start.
No, there should not be a limit. We define ourselves as a civilization by the care and compassion that we offer to the least among us. I happen to be one of those people suffering from a condition classified as "terminal". I'm in good health now and have a full-time job. I take great care of myself. However, if something were to happen to me (I'm 45), I would hope I would have the right to fight for my life with some form of available health care.
Life is a terminal condition. At what point do we say enough is enough? When a doctor says you only have 10 years, 5 years or just a few months?