Just ran this as a comment in Jed's front-pager on Johnny Isakson's flip-flopping denial that he never, ever, EVER endorsed consultations between doctors and patients on end-of-life issues, but I want it to be widely seen.
On April 24, 2008, Sen. Isakson spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate and advocated several reforms to health care policy. Among his remarks were a comment on end-of-life provisions.
In the senator's own words:
I will talk about what we need to do in terms of Medicare eligibility. When somebody signs up for Medicare when they are 65 years old--you are supposed to go in 90 days before your 65th birthday; I am getting close, so I am looking at these things--I think you ought to be required to execute a durable power of attorney when you become eligible. Eighty percent of the cost of health care to me, to you, and to anybody else happens in the last 60 days of life. More often than not, people are not in a condition to make a decision for themselves. Because of laws, and because we are a compassionate nation, the physician will keep you alive as long as he can. If you had a chance, you might rather say if I am being hydrated and given nutrition but will never become conscious again, I give the doctors the authority to make the appropriate medical decision. The money that would save is in the ``gazillions'' of dollars--if there is such a number. It would help us to manage that cost.
Here is a copy of the senator's remarks, sent out as a press release under his letterhead. They can also be found in the Congressional Record for that day, which may prove necessary once the senator's staff notices that, as pvmuse so cleanly headlined,
"Gazillions of dollars to be saved with Death Panels."
Ain't them tubes grand?
Update: The ever-resourceful Scarce has made a handy YouTube video of Sen. Isakson's "death panel" speech on the Senate floor for your viralizing fun. The only way to improve it would be to give it a soundtrack. Death metal, perhaps?