Thursday, October 15, 2009

Death Panel Implementation

In his recent address to Congress, President Obama derisively dismissed Sarah Palin’s accusation that the Democrats’ healthcare reform package includes provisions for so-called death panels. But recently leaked White House documents suggest that maybe the former Alaska governor was right.

Memorandum *** TOP SECRET ***

To: The President
From: Some Guy
Re: Death Panel Proposal

Once a final bill has been agreed to by both the House and the Senate, it will be time to start planning ahead for the creation, composition and regulation of the new Death Panels.

First off, I strongly suggest that we change the term Death Panel. Secret polling has revealed that an overwhelming majority of respondents don’t react well to that phrase. We’ve been kicking around a few other names for your consideration and have attached them as Schedule A.

Personally, I’m kind of partial to The Taxpayer Reduction Tribunal. Anything that includes the words "tax" and "reduction" is bound to sound good to a lot of voters.

I also like The End-of-life Planning Board and The Early Checkout Council. Everyone likes to plan and an early checkout suggests efficiency and convenience.

Next, of course, you’re gong to have to set your mind to the board’s structure. We’re thinking literally of a tribunal, as in panels of three so we won’t get stuck with tie votes when it comes to final decisions. The last thing a dying citizen needs is uncertainty when it comes to end-of-life choices.

As for those end-of-life choices, I think we should encourage the tribunal to issue their final decisions with as many options as possible to the prospective decedent. It’s always nice to think you have some say over your final fate even if all of the available choices lead to the same result. In this regard, we’re hoping to get group discount rates on everything from cyanide to handguns to help the public minimize the expense of judgment implementation.

So long as the panel hearing a particular case leaves it up to the individual coming before them to effect the panel’s final ruling, they can’t be faulted for just doing their job. I think we’ll only run into problems when overzealous tribunal members insist on carrying out the final decisions themselves.

Of course there will be difficult cases where applicants may not want to abide by the tribunal decision. Sadly, it may be necessary to assist certain reticent individuals to see the wisdom of the tribunal’s ruling.

As with other government functions, we think it would be wise to consider sub-contracting out the job in such cases to designated, pre-approved "death consultants." I understand that there is already a lengthy waiting list of eager applicants.

Finally, in order to achieve some much-needed "buy-in", we strongly recommend that the Chairperson’s position be paid at a significantly higher level and that a prominent American be appointed. We understand that Governor Palin is currently looking for work. If you could convince her to sign on, we think that could be a win-win-win situation for you, Ms. Palin and the American healthcare system.

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