Just when you think he couldn’t lose any more marbles, Souder proves us wrong. In an article written by Sylvia Smith and published in the Journal-Gazette, Souder unabashedly proclaimed, “The health insurance bill being written by congressional Democrats “will probably steer people to use public funds to kill themselves.” Souder is referring to Title II, Subtitle C, Section 1233.
Here is the offending part of the legislation:
Advance Care Planning Consultation
‘(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:
‘(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.
‘(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.
‘(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.
‘(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).
‘(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.
‘(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders, which shall include–
‘(I) the reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family and the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes;
‘(II) the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order; and
‘(III) the identification of resources that an individual may use to determine the requirements of the State in which such individual resides so that the treatment wishes of that individual will be carried out if the individual is unable to communicate those wishes, including requirements regarding the designation of a surrogate decision maker (also known as a health care proxy).
Nowhere in the relevant part of the legislation do I see any notion that us older folks will be “steered” toward suicide. If anything, perhaps lawyers should be worried that it will take away some of their business since providing end-of-life consultations is something lawyers undertake. They discuss with their clients all manner of ways to prepare for old age and death including living wills, health care proxies, and wills. Given Souder’s ridiculous mental gymnastics, wouldn’t this also be encouraging suicide?
But, hey, why would Souder let facts get in the way? He has consistently manipulated situations using scare tactics that would make writers of science fiction proud. So, my advice to seniors? Get off that ledge – the Health Care bill will not make you jump.