Daily Archives: 12/30/2010

Hey Econ Nerds, Want To See Some Economic Humor?

Economists Do It With Models

via Hey Econ Nerds, Want To See Some Economic Humor?.

Slippery Slope to Death Panels?

Fear of Death Panels continues. This is an example:

Just about everyone is talking about how the Dems and the Obama administration snuck the death panels back into Obamacare, and snuck really is the operative word:

“We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are ‘supporters’ — e-mails can too easily be forwarded.”

The e-mail from Rep. Blumenauer’s office continued: “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response.  The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”


Some folks are mostly bothered by the sneaking around, and some are more worried about where these end-of-life consultations will take us.  You know:  euthanasia, assisted-suicide, pulling-the-plug-on-Granny, or however you phrase it.

As the author continues, this is quite a personal issue.  The main issue is the process to to arrive at end of life consultation, where will this lead.  I just want to comment on the latter.

I’ve lived in Oregon for 16 years, and went through the death of my mother in 2004.  In 1994, Oregon passed its Death with Dignity initiative.

At the time there was a great deal of fear about the slippery slope.  Would troublesome relative: “be put out of their misery”?  Would Dr. Kevorkian take advantage of our state?

So have the fears been justified?  Mostly no.  The use of the death with dignity options has been very limited.  Less than 500 people have used it for the period 1998 to 2009, and that is much less than half of a percent of all deaths.  The details are here, with a summary:

Death with Dignity

I think fear regarding this issue reflects that as a nation we don’t deal with death very well.  After all the debate about death panels has to in light of that we all will die, and the so called death panels may at worst mean people who will die will do so sooner.  That seems to be missed.