OK, I've controlled my rage all week -- now I am so totally pissed off that I just want to scream.
1. For more than 15 years, the federal government has required that we ask anyone admitted to the hospital if they have prepared "advanced directives" -- that is, a living will or health care proxy (someone who can express your wishes if you can't). Here are the Connecticut forms -- everyone should have these documents -- you never know when you may need them. These questions are required for any healthcare organization that accepts payment from Medicare or Medicaid. It doesn't mean you have to have them or have them filled out in a particular way, but we have to ask.
And, as a nurse, I am ethically obligated to follow my patient's wishes -- whether I agree or not. Have there been times that a patient or their family wanted everything done and the health care team disagreed? You bet. Did we stop any care? Not a chance. Have there been times when a patient has said, "No -- no ventilator!" and I disagreed? Yes, again. Did I fight for that patient's right to refuse? You bet -- in fact, for one patient, I physically got between the patient and the doctor who wanted her tied down so he could put that tube in her throat.
There are no death panels, there's no one who's going to pull the plug to save money. It just doesn't happen that way.
2. I am so sick and tired of listening to people saying they don't want to pay for others to have health care. Of course, most people, including a nurse I used to work with, specify -- "illegal immigrants," "welfare queens," and other "unacceptable" folks. Well, let me tell you -- I don't have kids in public school, so why should I pay taxes that support schools? I don't believe in the death penalty, so I don't want to pay taxes that support the state killing in my name.
Here's a newsflash -- you ARE paying for everyone, whether you realize it or not. That's why health insurance premiums are going up and up -- it's called cost shifting, and it's been done for decades.
3. Public plan = government run healthcare. I have not met a single senior who would give up their public plan, commonly known as Medicare. Is Medicare perfect? No. Does anybody want to give it up? Again, no. A public plan is essential to provide true competition to for-profit insurance companies whose executives are raking in obscenely high salaries. It doesn't mean the government owns the doctors or the hospitals -- it simply means that's who pays. People on Medicare can choose where they get care and who gives it to them.
4. But there will be rationing! Bullshit again. My health insurance has a list of drugs that they will pay for. I want a drug not on the list? I have to pay full price for it. Isn't that rationing? I'd love to have a house on the beach in Maine, but I can't afford it. Is that rationing housing? Give me a break.