In the NYTimes today, I rise to see this:
"Congress Ready to Again Debate End-of-Life Issues"Not content to let this dying dog lie in peace, the motley fools on the hill are dragging it off its deathbed and dressing it up like an organ grinder's monkey, in preparation for taking it to the debutante's ball, where they will all take turns whisking its moldering corpse around the dance floor in the ghoulish hope of re-election points from the audience:
"After a string of fruitless legal and legislative efforts, the central question in the Terri Schiavo case - Who makes end-of-life decisions when the patient's wishes are disputed? - is headed back to Capitol Hill, where debate over broader legislation has already begun.No, it wasn't enough that we were all treated to one tragic circus. We need to get our noses in where it doesn't belong and make everyone's end-of-life decisions for them. And why? Because a few disability rights groups and religious conservatives think the average American can't tell the difference between someone in a wheelchair who wants to live, and a pathetic brainstem wearing a nightgown. So off they go:
On Sunday, lawmakers of both parties agreed that Congress has a role to play in such cases and should contemplate legislation that would give added legal recourse to patients like Ms. Schiavo. While it is difficult to predict whether such a measure could pass, the Schiavo case has clearly pushed thorny questions about end-of-life care to the fore on Capitol Hill, as well as in state legislatures around the nation.
The Republican-controlled House already passed a bill that would allow the federal courts to review cases like Ms. Schiavo's, in which the patient has left no written instructions, the family is at odds and state courts have ordered a feeding tube to be withdrawn. That bill evolved into one that was narrowly tailored to Ms. Schiavo.
Now some Democrats, prodded by advocates for the disabled, say Congress should consider whether such a law is needed."
"Already, the Senate health committee has scheduled a hearing next week to debate the Schiavo case and discuss "the urgent need for Congress to examine current health care practices used in the care of non-ambulatory individuals," according to a statement by the chairman, Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming.Enzi already has finely-tuned sense of humor, doesn't he, subpoenaing a woman whose cortex has liquified to speak before the Senate? (Not that they would have noticed a problem.) And that "urgent need to examine current healthcare practices" might make better sense to some if they thought to deal with the urgent needs of the 45 million uninsured. But why quibble? Personally, I can't think of a better boon to my quality of life than the state forcing itself between me and my doctor while it lets my uninsured daughter flounder without the medical attention she needs.
The hearing was initially scheduled for Monday; in a fruitless effort to keep Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube from being withdrawn, Mr. Enzi called Ms. Schiavo and her husband, Michael, as witnesses, noting pointedly that it was a federal crime for anyone to impede their testimony. Later, when Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube was withdrawn, Mr. Enzi postponed the hearing until April 6."
But don't worry. The decision to spend money and resources on people who don't want them will only be made for those with the ability to pay, and can be fiscally balanced by keeping poor people off the tubes. And once the Republicans get their malpractice caps passed, that will include a lot more of us.