Keith Olbermann's Lament

At the end of his MSNBC show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" Keith made a 10 minute closing monologue about his father who is hospitalized with a panoply of ailments. You need to take the time to watch the video to fully grasp the meaning of my comments.

I truly feel sorry for the Olbermanns. It is a horrible situation to be in, especially if it lingers. A family member of mine just died tonight after a quick but tortuous bout with lung cancer, and after getting hit with dementia. These sorts of thing occur all too often and are an unfortunate part of life.

However, this does not justify Keith to use his grief to bend the meaning of death panels to his own description nor does it justify the way he damns to Hell people who have a different opinion. Without researching exact comments by specific individuals who coined the phrase "Death Panels", my take on the term (as an astute observer of current events) is the suggestion that a body of administrative bureaucrats (not doctors actively involved in treatment) would make arbitrary decisions about go/no-go on any further treatment. In Keith's situation, if his father was on Obamacare and at month 3 (instead of month 6) he had a bad spell, the 'Life Panel' could decide to let his life be decided by fate, and not by the best medicine possible. If his hospital bill was at, say, $250,000 and that was all the manual would allow for a 75+ year old in his condition, well, then pull the wires and let it be.

THAT is a Death Panel. Call it what you wish, Keith. I seriously doubt that heroic efforts would be regularly approved by state-controlled insurance administrators for an average Joe. Perhaps if his family was able to pay more, or if someone was political or a celeb or famous it would be, but what about the rest of us just trying to get well?

IMHO, I think that King Solomon would draw a blank when confronted with our current situation vis-a-vis health insurance. There is NO good answer. Reform is needed desperately with insurance, but if there was a $1000 per pill 'cure' available, who wouldn't want their loved one to get a month's worth of them for free? Who's going to pay for it? When insurance rates go up 20% per year, would paying the insurance company execs $1 per year cause the cost of insurance to flat-line? I doubt it. When GE charges $2 Million for a Nuclear Scanner, who is going to complain if it helps your wife get better? Why shouldn't Jeffrey Immelt donate these machines for the good of mankind? Why shouldn't food be free for that matter? Or water? Or housing? Or clothing? Aren't they all essential for health and life? Why not a cell phone so that you can call in case of an emergency? Why not a free GPS in case you get lost? Free helmet and knee pads for bicycle riders? Free air conditioners for elderly people? Free handguns for vulnerable citizens in inner cities?

Am I being silly? At some point everyone reading that list will say "Well, that's ridiculous." But who gets to decide where that point is? Obama? Pelosi? Reed? Tea Party members? Supreme Court? Keith Olbermann? HHS Administrators? You?

I HATE conundrums! They make my head hurt. Can I get a free aspirin?


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