Sunday, August 16, 2009

Republican Richard 'Doc' Hastings Pulls the Euthanasia Rabbit Out of the Hat

The congressman for my district, District 4 in eastern Washington State, is Richard 'Doc' Hastings. Hastings, despite his nickname, is no doctor. His biography says he, "studied business administration at Columbia Basin College and at Central Washington University." Doc's lack of medical expertise hasn't stopped him from waxing poetic on health care reform. Like his fellow Republicans, Doc is against anything the Democrats may be for. At a Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce lunch on Wednesday, August 12th, Hastings responded to a question about how health care reform proposals will affect seniors by saying, "The biggest issue is the euthanasia part of this. If they are mandated to have euthanasia consulting ... I'm not for anything mandatory." You mean like seat belts, Doc?

The fact that there is no "euthanasia" consulting, mandatory or otherwise, seems to have escaped Doc's notice. Republicans, looking for things to scare us poor old folks with, found a provision on end-of-life care counseling in Section 1233 in the health bill passed by three House committees. The original provision on end-of-life planning was inserted in the Social Security Act by George H. W. Bush in 1990, and covered things like living wills, and durable powers of attorney, only meeting with a doctor to discuss such matters wasn't covered for seniors under Medicare. The new health care bill would have Medicare cover it. Scary, huh?

Where you hear Republicans coming up with this kind of malarky, you've got to ask,

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