Despite the sorry shadow of its former self that the Post-Dispatch has become, editorials like this one keep me subscribing:
State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, whose “hunger is a positive motivator” beliefs earned her national renown last summer, has come out in favor of feeding people who don’t want to be fed.
House Bill 1235, sponsored by Ms. Davis, would require mandatory feeding tubes for terminally ill patients – but only for those patients who have said they don’t want them. The feeding tubes would have to remain in place for at least 60 days before they could be withdrawn.
During that time, nurses would have to place food and water in the patient’s mouth at least three times a day. If the patient swallowed – either on purpose or by reflex – the tube feeding would continue indefinitely.
Davis’ loopy logic is that the coming national health care program might engender those death panels the Rs were so distraught about, though she avoids that discredited term in favor of the phrase “people who are motivated by economics”. Same idea.
Consider these two pieces of irony that the Post points out:
Ms. Davis, worried that national health care reform will lead to rationing, is sponsoring a resolution that would allow Missouri to “opt out” of the changes. But Medicare has been covering elderly and disabled Americans for 45 years, and no one ever has accused it of rationing their care.
But in 2005, Ms. Davis and her fellow Missouri House Republicans – “motivated by economics” – voted to ration health care by cutting Medicaid insurance for 100,000 people. The cuts ended Medicaid coverage for, of all things, feeding tubes.
Ms. Davis’ latest bill would add about $8,000 in costs for each nursing home patient who receives an extra 60 days of tube feedings that she or he doesn’t want. It would add about $56,000 for each hospital patient.
The summer feeding program Ms. Davis attacked last June cost $1.81 for each breakfast and $3.18 for each lunch. That irresponsible spending prompted Ms. Davis to offer a helpful hint. “Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.”
Tip for Ms. Davis: Leave the intensely personal decisions about end-of-life care to patients and their doctors. Worry instead about Missouri’s hungry children.
I have a question: Do we have enough nutcases in the House to pass HB 1235? Because I’m starting to get tired of seeing the rest of the nation point at Missouri and laugh.