This last week there have been physical fights and arrests of people who have been at the town hall meetings set up to learn about and discuss the current proposal for health care reform.
What has our country turned into. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates each side was given an hour to speak, uninterrupted, to lay out their case. The opposing side was then given at least another hour to speak and lay out their case. By the early 80’s, what passed for national discourse or debate was 30 second rebuttals to 1 minute soundbites. And now…..well, we’re just shouting obscenities from the crowd.
In certain circles there has been much propaganda around the “death clause” of the health care bill. Many have made it out to seem that the government is going to be killing people to save on costs. I have a friend in seminary who actually took the time to do the research on the bill to see what it actually says. You will notice that there are even footnotes included, to the bill, not to some pundit. Here is his original post.
Authored by Justin King, Elkhart, In
In response to the “Deather Movement” I decided to look into the purported “Death Clause” in House Resolution 3200, introduced to the House on July 24, 2009. I should note that I did not read the entire bill. It is 1017 pages long and I do not have the time to read another 1000 pages on top of other research I have to do for my thesis.
It took some searching to find out exactly where this clause was, but after searching http://www.factcheck.org I was able to find an article checking the facts of the claim that HR 3200 contains “a provision that would require that ailing seniors be pressed to consider suicide in order to save the taxpayers’ money on Medicare.” 
The article notes that this purported clause is on pg. 425. Rather than rely on commentaries I decided to look into the bill myself. The bill is public record and is available online. (http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090714/aahca.pdf)
Upon reading through the provision on pages 424-430, it is clear to me that the Deather movement is completely wrong.
The point of the clause is not to save the taxpayer money by encouraging older US citizens to not seek treatment. Instead it says that money will provided for counseling for a patient who has decided to no longer seek further treatment. Almost all of us have experienced this is some way, be it the signing of a do not resuscitate order or when an older relative decides to no longer seek treatment of a terminal condition. The clause provides for the education of those involved in the individuals decision to no longer seek treatment. 
What is really interesting is section F notes that “an explanation of orders regarding life sustain treatment or similar orders,” is necessary. This explanation requires “reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family. It also requires health care experts to explain “the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order.”
The point is that an individual makes the decision to no longer seek treatment and is then given counseling. The Deathers would have us believe that the counselors show up uninvited and convince folks to pull the plug.
The medical order is initiated by the individual and then “is signed and dated by a physician…and is in a form that permits it to stay with the individual and be followed by health care professionals across the continuum of care.”  It also ensures that “the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment” is clearly communicated.
The five years which Betsy McCaughey claims is when the government shows up and talks you into pulling the plug is actually meant to ensure that the orders that the health care professionals have are accurate and reflect the desires of the individual at that point in their life, instead of where the individual was five years ago.
All bills submitted to any level of the government are public record and are freely available to all US citizens for review. Hey America, shut off Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck and check things out for yourself instead taking everyting that comes from FOX and MSNBC as gospel truth.
It’s time to debate the merits of this bill based on what it says combined with political philosophy/theory , and not on lies, half truths and partisan bull.
 “False Euthanasia Claims,” http://www.factcheck.org/2009/07/false-euthanasia-claims/. Accessed 08/11/2009.
 See HR 3200, 425, sections A-E, on the purpose of the clause and the type of counseling to be provided by the bill.
 HR 3200, 426.
 Ibid., 429.