Death panels should be dicated by life choices

By Ben Moriarty

Despite being a journalism major, I hardly looked up any news while spending my summer in Guatemala. Nor did I read any news from there. It became news to me I don’t really care about news. I even found out that Michael Jackson died days after he died. And then I cried for days on end.

I didn’t know the sales tax went up until near the end of August, and I still have hardly any idea what exactly the Cash for Clunkers program did considering all of our auto industry is bankrupt.

Then I came back and the great Ted Kennedy, who helped introduce the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009, died. So it goes, God bless his Catholic soul.

So now, being back, all the news, of course, is on the healthcare debacle.


But then I heard about “death panels,” and I became, naturally, very intrigued about them – hoping there was some sort of campaign I could join. And then, much to my displeasure, I found out that the death panels didn’t actually exist like I had envisioned in my mind. No lobbyists in Washington D.C., no people in mustaches, no guillotines.  

Which truly is a shame.

On a more pleasant note, we did get to hear “we are becoming socialists” or whatever it is Republicans say about anything the Democratic Party tries to do. As well as people worrying that their sick parents, their dying children, or, as Sarah Palin said, “my baby with Down syndrome,” wouldn’t receive health care because of their illnesses.

Old people and babies with Down syndrome aside, a panel of people who would decide who would get healthcare and treatment would be the most objective and best way to decide who receives it. This is, of course, if everyone can’t have it.

It is, I believe, since it happened in “300”, how the Spartans used to do it. Palin should just be grateful her baby wasn’t thrown off a cliff like it would have been had she lived in panelist Sparta or my household.

If you want to get to the nitty gritty, we already have death panels – which are really just things or people you need to get past to get treatment. Don’t have the money, don’t have coverage? Then sing us a sad song little birdies.

I watch a lot of “House,” and, taking that for reality because it is a television show about a snide doctor and a dean of medicine with nice cleavage, the sort of picking and choosing that people are worried about already happens. If there is one heart, you aren’t going to give it to the obese fat guy who doesn’t exercise and drinks every night – you are going to give it to the normal American: only slightly obese, who also doesn’t exercise.

We see it happen, and it only makes sense that we give to those who will gain the most and who have and will act properly and healthily. If everyone cannot have health care, it should be given firstly to those who have worked to take preventative measures in their health and have been put in unfortunate consequences.

Last month, a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and RTI International showed obesity costs the U.S. $147 billion. Smoking, according to the Center for Disease Control, costs America $193 billion dollars a year, with nearly a hundred billion of it being for medical and healthcare costs.

If people are going to do things regarding their health that cost the country more money, there should be consequences. If you know that when you get older you won’t receive treatment if you continue to smoke or not exercise, and you keep smoking or can’t put the burger down, then you deserve either no treatment or treatment at a very high cost. Because, hell, if you don’t care about your health when you’re healthy, why should it change when you aren’t? And I hope in the future when we actually do have death panels, they will agree.

Of course, this is only if we have the inability to cover everyone or the inability to hold insurance companies to a slightly non-abominable position in a capitalist fueled economy.

Sadly, for some, we do have the ability to cover everyone in some form. But then that might mean we don’t live in a completely laissez-faire economy with no government involvement (even though we’ve had a national bank for almost centuries). Or that money might be coming from somewhere in their pockets. Or that we will become Socialists or Communists or Muslims or homosexuals or whatever it is the opposition hates this year.

So bring on the death panels so we can decide who gets treatment, who lives and who dies in a logical manner. We have a population problem as people are living far too long anyways, wreaking havoc on Social Security and Medicare. We need a better method besides who has money for who gets to live or die.

And we have it. It’s based on how you live.

Ben Moriarty is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]