Sunday, July 02, 2017

Is Trumpcare Designed to be a Quiet Form of Euthanasia?

Before Hitler's Nazi regime moved on to murder over six million European Jews, it aimed its sights on the disabled and "incurably ill" through a campaign of murder of the disabled.  Here's a brief excerpt from the Holocaust Museum webpage:
Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill." Many Germans did not want to be reminded of individuals who did not measure up to their concept of a "master race." The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as "useless" to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life. At the beginning of World War II, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the "T-4," or "euthanasia," program. The "euthanasia" program required the cooperation of many German doctors, who reviewed the medical files of patients in institutions to determine which handicapped or mentally ill individuals should be killed. The doctors also supervised the actual killings. Doomed patients were transferred to six institutions in Germany and Austria, where they were killed in specially constructed gas chambers. Handicapped infants and small children were also killed by injection with a deadly dose of drugs or by starvation. . . . . . the Nazi leadership continued this program in secret throughout the war. About 200,000 handicapped people were murdered between 1940 and 1945.

Admittedly, even today's morally bankrupt Republican leaders like Der Trumpenf├╝hrer, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell aren't brazen enough to make the outright proposal that the disabled and severely infirm be murdered.  However, there are other means to accomplish the elimination of those deemed "useless" by the GOP leadership and some of the more vile members of the GOP base: simply cut off the funding for critical services that allow the disabled to live and function.  This is precisely what the proposed huge cuts in Medicaid spending would accomplish - while also giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy.  Yes, it is sick and sinister, but totally in keeping with Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand world view. A piece in the New York Times looks at what Trumpcare could do to the disabled.  Here are disturbing excerpts that include individuals who might suffer under Trumpcare:
Frances Isbell has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that has left her unable to walk or even roll over in bed. But Ms. Isbell has a personal care assistant through Medicaid . . . . The care she gets is an optional benefit under federal Medicaid law, which means each state can decide whether to offer it and how much to spend. Optional services that she and millions of other Medicaid beneficiaries receive would be particularly at risk under Republican proposals to scale back Medicaid as part of legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Those services include dental care for adults, long-term care for disabled and elderly people living at home, certain therapies that children with disabilities receive in school, prosthetic limbs and even prescription drugs. The battle over replacing the Affordable Care Act has focused intensely on the future of Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and vulnerable created more than 50 years ago as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Much of the debate has centered on Republican proposals to roll back the recent expansion of the program to millions of low-income adults without disabilities.
But the House and Senate bills would also make profound changes to the very nature of Medicaid, shifting it from an open-ended entitlement to a program with strict federal funding limits. . . . . The threat to optional services may be especially acute in states, like Alabama, that already spend far less than the national average on Medicaid and are averse to raising more revenue through taxes. . . . . “There’s a fundamental antipathy to spending the public purse on health care services for poor people, and that would only get worse if the resources become capped and more limited.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that Medicaid spending would be 26 percent lower under the Senate plan than it would be under current law in 2026 — and 35 percent lower in 2036. The office predicted that states would be forced to “eliminate optional services, restrict eligibility for enrollment or adopt some combination of those approaches.”
Under the Senate plan, states would receive a fixed annual amount for each Medicaid beneficiary, with each category of beneficiaries, like children and the disabled, getting a different base amount based on recent costs. The amount would increase every year by a formula that is expected to grow more slowly than average medical costs after 2025.
Eric Harkins will never be able to have a job. With cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and a seizure disorder, he cannot speak or move other than scooting across the floor on his knees and elbows. But Medicaid has allowed his sister, Kimberlee, to pursue a career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor instead of caring for him full time. It pays for aides to care for Mr. Harkins for 125 hours a week, an amount that was increased after his mother had a debilitating heart attack and underwent surgery several times over the last few years.
“He requires help with every aspect of daily living,” Ms. Harkins said, stroking her brother’s arm as he watched a cartoon in their living room one recent afternoon in Vestavia Hills, outside Birmingham. “If our caregivers went away tomorrow, I’d have to quit my job and take care of Eric.”
Mr. Harkins, 33, likes playing with toys meant for toddlers, watching shows on his iPad and going on outings to Target and restaurants, though it usually takes his sister and an aide to get him there. Because he can be physically aggressive, a day program is out of the question, Ms. Harkins said.
Every weekday, Medicaid allows Matthew Foster to spend a few hours pursuing one cherished activity after the next: working out at the gym, taking an art class, shopping for groceries, visiting his elderly aunt. The program pays for an aide to spend 20 hours a week with Mr. Foster, 34, who has Down syndrome and cannot read well or drive. . . . . Since has was 17, he has worked on weekends at Chuck E. Cheese’s, dressing in costume and entertaining children at birthday parties. His father drives him back and forth now, but in the future he may rely on Medicaid for help getting to work.
I guess in the world of Congressional Republicans, the blame for what happens to these individuals and many, many others (not to mention the poor) would fall to the states if they chose to drop optional services and not raise taxes.  That type of excuse didn't work well for Pontius Pilate. It should not be allowed to work for Trump, Ryan and McConnell. 

One last irony:  The GOP and its evangelical Christian supporters claim to be "the party of pro-life" and oppose abortion, yet once individuals are born they immediately become disposable garbage. The hypocrisy is breath taking. 

1 comment:

RichardR said...

How many ways can one spell "social engineering" ?