I don’t really want to write a polly-tickal rant but when I read last week that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal had decided to cut hospice services from the state’s Medicare program, I was disheartened. I tend to be fiscally conservative but some of the things that the Not-My-Dad’s GOP are proposing are way too much for me.
I can’t help wondering if Mr. Jindal has any idea about the complicated dance surrounding the end of a person’s life. Deciding to enter hospice care is a wrenching decision and I am glad that The Commander was of sound mind and able to make that decision on her own. I can’t say that the weeks following that decision were always easy. But they were a helluva lot easier than the period of time when she was repeatedly transferred to the ER to be resuscitated. (ER doc to KW on the phone: we’ll try to bring her back but be prepared for the worst and drive carefully. I prepared myself for the worst. At least twice. It’s all a blur…)
The Comm was not on Medicaid. We never had a lot of money when I was growing up but my parents worked very hard and my mother could afford to keep her house *and* an assisted living apartment that last awful year of her life. Not everyone can do that, even if they have worked very hard all of their life. Does that mean they have to die in pain and discomfort? Sigh…
Folks, a primer on end-of-life stuff:
- Hospice is a *good* thing.
- Being a frequent flyer at the ER is *not* a good thing. Especially when you are elderly and/or sick and frail. Every time you go there, your health ratchets a few notches down.
- If you are dying, the hospital is not the place to be. They are obligated to try to feed you even if you cannot eat and they cannot legally give you the drugs you need to manage your END-OF-LIFE pain effectively. The nurses are wonderful but they cannot provide the level of care you need because they have other patients…
- EVERY person deserves to die in as much comfort as is possible. Rich or poor, it doesn’t really matter.
- I will bet dollars that it is less expensive to provide hospice care to a dying Medicaid patient than it is to haul them over to the ER over and over again, performing expensive and useless cover your ass tests and exposing them to horrific infections. Like C. diff… … …
I have to give Mr. Jindal some credit for scrapping this stupid plan. But take a note Not-My-Dad’s GOP: if you think that Bobby Jindal is a viable candidate for the 2016 presidency, know that I will not vote for him. We need to reduce our deficit but we cannot do that without maintaining compassion for our fellow human beings, rich or poor.
Again, I’m sorry but I had to get this out of my system!