Who Isn't Paying Their Fair Share?

This is another in a continuing series of posts I

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You bring up an interesting point about end-of-life care. This is a common concern among all industrialized nations now because we're at a point where we can provide amazing care options that prolong life. However, these options come at an enormous price. Many of these are new drugs that have been financed by the government and the pharmaceutical industry. Many of these options are time-intensive surgeries or therapies that just take a lot of time and resources.

Keeping people alive longer with new medical advances increases costs in two ways. The first is the direct increased costs of the intervention. Many new interventions are better and more expensive than their older counterparts. Secondly, new interventions mean people live longer. There are relatively few true "cures" in medicine. Most are treatments that turn a potentially deadly illness into a chronic, manageable illness. That means continued healthcare expenditures for the rest of that person's life in regards to the first illness and also additional healthcare costs from completely unrelated illnesses that would not have occurred if the prior intervention not existed.

Of course this brings up the question of rationing care and "giving up" on elderly people nearing the end of their lives. Realistically we'll probably have to do it in the next couple decades. We have to ask ourselves is it better to spend our resources on keeping an 80 year old alive for another year or provide preventitive care to children less than 18 in an attempt to ward off future illness for them? The difficult part of this is determining who is going to decide which person is worthy of receiving treatment, and that is an unenviable position to be in.

One of the ways we can do this short-term is by increasing the age needed to receive benefits. We wouldn't have to do it immediately, but maybe we could say medicare and social security benefits for those 45 and younger will kick in 2 years after the age now used. We're using age limits determined years and years ago when life expectancy and the number of productive years was dramatically lower than it is now. I think it's irresponsible for us to no address this issue.

As for who is or is not paying their fair share, that's a complex question. Undeniably the more wealthy individuals become, the more they pay in tax dollars (both percentage and real dollars). Fundamentally the government isn't entitled to anything from its citizens. Anything we give to it was inderctly decided by the us through legistlative action. So in that sense, anyone paying taxes at all is paying their fair share since we really don't have to give government anything at all.

I will never undergo chemotherapy since it's a fate worse than death.

I can appreciate that you may feel this way and I admit I have no idea how old you are.
However, having been through 12 months (two rounds of 6 months a year apart) of chemotherapy, I can tell you that it was no walk in the park but to call it a fate worse then death? No, not even close. Its not fun and its certainly not easy but it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined.
The thing is I was only 37 when I was diagnosed,a single Mom with two kids one of them only two, so throwing in the towel was not an option.
I will admit to being confused by some of the people who I saw in the chemo room with me.
I saw patients, wheeled in on gurneys, obviously nursing home patients who had no idea who they were let alone where they were or what was happening to them.
Chemo for that type of person I would call a fate worse then death, it was a shame their familys couldn't let them go. I can only imagine how hard it was on their frail bodies.
Should there come a time in a persons life that the Doctors get frank with family members and tell them that treatment is just not an option? I think there should be, the problem is how and when do you decide that its time to cut it off.
Should we have something like in Logan's Run where at a certain age people are "removed" from society? Certainly I'm not talking about an age like 35 but where then do you made the cut? Is 65 to old? 75? Will exceptions be made for people who are still up and about going strong and independant?

We have to ask ourselves is it better to spend our resources on keeping an 80 year old alive for another year or provide preventitive care to children less than 18 in an attempt to ward off future illness for them

I agree somewhat with this sentiment, but the question remains, what then happens with the 80 year old? Are they left to linger with no medical intervention, hopefully comfort measures (I'm sure we arent advocating starving people or keeping them in pain) or will Kevorkian be back in business?

There is nothing compassionate, just, or proper to take property (land, wages, money etc) from a person by force or fraud and give it to someone else. That is the definition of theft no matter how good your intentions may be. Law is designed to prevent that type of behavior, not sanction it, and if law does sanction it than it is a law contrary to freedom and justice.

Matt Holdridge
The Toledo Tattler

I receive a consistent snobbish response when I tell people that I will never undergo chemotherapy since it's a fate worse than death. I'm assured that if the time comes, I'll "think differently", but anyone who knows the manner in which I live should know that I expect to die if I get cancer. I accept the inevitability and practicality of death. I suppose that I could buy up an assload of insurance and demand every treatment in the book when the time comes, but I'm not going to do that. We are barely able to sustain life past the point of the occurrence of a fatal illness, but the costs are staggering. Basically put, it's unnatural. In accordance to my understanding of natural living, I don't accept the behavior of placing myself into the "health care" system for my last couple of years.

I have a bed. It's an OK place to die in.

My end of life plan is a carton of smokes, half gallon of Jack Daniels, bunch of fireworks, and a fast car out in the desert. Probably won't happen, but it sounds appealing.

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