Props to Ezra Klein for this interview with Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson:
Klein: Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother? What are we talking about here?
Isakson: In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that’s because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia “durable power of attorney,” you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you’re unable to make those decisions.
This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it’s to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It’s just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.
If Democrats were smart (they’re not) they would point out that this is the fitting tribute to Terry Schiavo and name this the Schiavo amendment, because that is really what this does. It provides patients with the information they need to make living wills, so that should they get into a tragic circumstance such that Terri Schiavo found herself, there would not be any questions about what needs to be done.
Of course, though, that runs square into the real problem with the GOP right now- the profit motive for the hucksters. There is a large contingent out there who would love nothing more than another Schiavo. The fundraisers, the weepy editorials about the value of life (stuck in a bed immobile and unconscious and brain dead for 15 years, but sweet, sweet, life), the marches, the public displays of religion, getting to scream murderer at elected officials and yelling “judicial activism,” the direct mail begs for money- all that would be wiped out. And that is the real problem. The people running the current freak show have a profit motive for things to keep the way they are- with the GOP out of power and the ratings through the roof.