The Schiavo Case, States Rights and Medical Costs

Well, I guess the Republicans have gone on record as no longer being champions of “states rights” as in the Schiavo case they took those rights away from the Florida Courts and turned them over to the Federal Courts.

Maybe the next time a Republican named Bush wins in a state headed by another family member named Bush Congress will take that dispute away from the state courts and give it to the Federal courts, hum?

Maybe in some future child custody case?

Funny how the Republicans are trying now to make Federal Class Action Law cases get turned over to local state courts so that each state has to hear these cases separately.

Hmmm. Is that a contradiction? The Republicans take cases out of state courts when it doesn’t serve their interest and move them into Federal courts, then the take other cases out of Federal Courts and move them into state courts because it serves their interest?

Well, the Schiavo case was quite interesting. For those of you who don’t know, this woman became what Medical Doctors call “Brain Dead” in 1990 and she was kept alive, comatose, on a feeding tube until the spring of 2005 when the state courts pulled her tubes to let her die.

One of the things I want to know is who paid for those 15 years in a nursing home, hospice or hospital? Who paid the bills, which amount to between $1,500 a month to $1,500 a day? Did government pay for this? Will government pay for everyone to get kept in a hospice and fed through a tube indefinitely?

If government can afford to keep one person alive for 15 years on Medicaid or Medicare, how come the government won’t spring to keep those over 65 alive on Social Security after they put in their 45+ years? One person is worth half a million or a million or ten million as a test case but the rest of us aren’t worth a plug nickel?

No offense to Ms. Schiavo and her family. I really hoped she would magical wake up and become normal again, but Medical Science has a lot of experience in the concept of “brain death” and this seems to be one of the realities of life (or as the case may be death), but the point I am making is if we are to afford millions of dollars in care to this one person why are we not committed to provide exactly the same care to everyone, all the time, forever? Did you know that the Mexican government spends an average of $1 million dollars to keep each and every baby born in that country alive. No cost to the family. Mexico is neither a Communist nor Socialist country, plus it doesn't have formal national health care. But I'm speaking new borns. Life just begining.

There are close to 300 million of us in the U.S. are we not all entitled to millions of dollars of free health services over 15 years even if doctors say there is “no hope”? If not, why all the concern by Republicans for this one person? Is that not favoritism? (And don't get me wrong, this was a "partisan" issue. This was truly Republican v. Democrat.)

Oh, she certainly didn’t fit the Republican motif! She was not rich. She did not own a big billion dollar company that had contracts with the U.S. military in Iraq. She probably didn’t even contribute to the Bush election fund! Very surprising, but at the same time very sad for people like me who are going to miss out on full Social Security benefits because I’m one year too young. I won’t turn 55 until next year, but that will be too late if Congress passes the current Bush proposal. President Bush (and Congress?) seems to think I can spend the last 10 years of my life building my own retirement fund! Oh, were it only that easy!

Once again, I feel sorry for Ms. Schiavo and her family and I don’t mean to pick on them, I just want to know why President Bush and the Republicans picked on them to "favor" and not the rest of us? Are we not all equal under the law? Are we not all entitled to equal care? Oops, I’m sorry, that almost sounded Communist or at best Socialist. I’m sorry. But, why is she so special and the rest of us not so special or do I misunderstand things? If I go into a coma will they keep me on a feeding tube for 15 years? My insurance won’t cover it past 30 or 60 days. I will lose my health care insurance if I can’t work and if I’m in a coma I can’t work! Catch 22!

So, Mr. Republican, do all of us qualify for that type of care and what’s with the Ying and Yang on state and Federal Courts? A little bit of “miffed-ness” at the rights of an individual state? And why am I being singled out to not get full Social Security benefits if we, as a people, provide 15 years of intensive health care to one person rated as being “brain dead” by the Medical establishment. None of this makes any sense to me... Afterall I worked steady since I was 17 years old, paid my taxes (which is a lot more than some people on welfare have done in their days) and now the Republicans want to halt my Social Security. Is this because the government has to eat part of the Schiavo medical bills? Is that what depleted my trust fund?

Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot Mr. Bush and the Republicans just changed the Bankruptcy laws so that you can't get out of paying your medical bills! Well, if anyone has any payments on on this case, you still have about 5 monts grace period to file under the "old" laws, but after that you have to pay all those "hospice" bills to keep someone on a feeding tube for 15 years. Unless, of course, you can get Medicare to pay for it or maybe my Social Security trust fund will get raided to pay all these bills!

I really want to know who's paying the piper on this one! Medicare? Social Security? General Relief? The family (did they hock everything they owned)? Did the Hospice do it for free (and if did, are they writing millions off their taxes each year, leaving the rest of us to fill in the void)?

Who will pay my bills? I know Social Security will pay a whole $325 when I die to bury me (one funeral home I spoke with told me the minimum cost to get buried is $20,000 today and a cremation is more like $750). Are we all entitled to 15+ years comatose care, Mr. Republican? Is this, now, policy? Is this, now, a right of every citizen? And in other family disputes, such as child custody, will Federal courts take over, replacing state courts? The Schiavo case was one of parents of an adult, married person v. spouse of adult married person. To watch government take sides in this issue was spooky.

Test cases are interesting. It's interesting to watch government spend our tax dollars trying to prove an issue, while telling the rest of us who are about to retire to go eat the big one after we paid in for almost 50 years!

For other views and opinions on this case, see the following stories in this issue:
Enough! | Dead or Alive?
The Schiavo Case, States Rights and Medical Costs

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