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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2011 / 28 Teves, 5771

They're Back! The Return of the Death Panels

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | They were supposed to be gone. They were supposed never to have existed. Remember the foofaraw over the part of ObamaCare that was going to have Medicare finance, uh, consultations about end-of-life treatment? They soon were dubbed death panels. The name stuck, and every time advocates of the idea derided it -- untrue! fictional! absurd! wholly imaginary! -- they only gave it more currency.

Which term do you prefer, end-of-life counseling or death panels? It makes quite a difference when discussing the issue. Because when it comes to a political conflict, vocabulary remains the Little Round Top of every engagement, the strategic height that determines the outcome of the battle. And any mention of death tends to, well, kill off enthusiasm for a proposal. Whether we're talking death panels or the death tax. (Its advocates much prefer to speak of the estate tax even if it's the same thing.) Why be blunt? Especially if it's going to cost your side of the debate votes.

Awkward facts must be sidestepped, euphemisms invented. The way abortion has become Choice. Names count; what a proposal is called may determine whether it ever gets into law. And so the death panels/end-of-life consultations had to be dropped from the final version of ObamaCare, which goes by an official euphemism of its own: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2009. And its Section 1233 raised concerns that the patient might be protected to death.

At the least the controversial section was sure to produce a whole new para-medical sub-specialty. For where there's a Medicare payment, payees are bound to spring up. (In economicspeak, this is called incentivizing.) What do you think the practitioners of this new art/science would be called? Nothing very precise, one can be sure. Preferably something long and latinate, a term that softens the hard edges of its meaning, something high-toned, even classical. How about thanatopsists?

You can almost see the new occupation being plugged into every top-flight medical center's table of organization. ("Thanatopsy? It's in Annex B on Level II. You'll have to take the elevator to the main floor, cross the parking lot, go through the underground garage, enter the red door and get off on Blue Level. It's simple. Just follow the signs. Be sure to bring your parking ticket, photographic ID, proof of insurance, medical records, list of pharmaceuticals, and....")

Thanatopsy. What better way for fledgling bioethicists to begin a long career of not calling things by their right names? Why alarm people by facing the facts of life, or rather death? Better to speak of end-of-life care or advance planning or, well, anything but death. Euphemism is the health of bioethics, which is never to be confused with ethics, or at least the kind explored by Aristotle or Bonhoeffer.

It's a strange thing: The very people so eager to plan for death never use the word. In any event, Section 1233 and its provision for periodic consultations about (insert appropriate euphemism here) never made it into law. Oh, death, where is thy sting, grave thy victory?

Answer: In a brand-new Medicare regulation in effect as of this brand-new year -- January 1, 2011 A.D. Issuing a regulation is always the fallback position for an administration that can't convince Congress to follow its lead. What an inconvenience it is to have to deal with popularly elected legislators anyway; they're so fickle, so sensitive, so slow to see reason ... and so accountable to the voters at the next election. Why not just work around them? Spare them the heat. We'd be doing them a favor, right?

And so it was done. Section 1233 now has been reborn as a Medicare regulation authorizing payment for "voluntary advance planning" to discuss, uh, end-of-life issues with patients and provide them with information about preparing an "advance directive" should they develop a life-threatening illness. Or well before.

With the disappearance of the old-time family doctor (and friend) in American medicine, the kind of physician who might be counted on to know a patient's condition, convictions, temperament and particular idiosyncrasies, we can now rely on experts to conduct these consultations. What a comfort. Kind of.

Don't get me wrong. There's no reason to doubt the president when he assures us in his ever-delicate way that there's nothing in his vast new health plan that "would pull the plug on grandma." These doctors, or some specially trained intern on their staff, would just ask the old lady a few questions periodically.

But as every polemicist knows, the way a question is asked can determine the answer. To quote one of those experts -- a thanatopsist? -- at the University of Michigan, someone with heart disease might be asked: "If you have another heart attack and your heart stops beating, would you want us to try to restart it?" Or someone with emphysema could be asked, "Do you want to go on a breathing machine for the rest of your life?" Or the cancer patient would be asked, "When the time comes, do you want us to use technology to try and delay your death?" As if anyone could know when the time will come, and how the patient will feel about it then. And please note the phraseology: It's not save your life, but delay your death. Never underestimate the power of negative thinking.

Life-and-death decisions that once could be safely left to the common-sense wisdom of the doctor most familiar with the patient now can be boiled down to a standard form--and a standard, billable procedure. Welcome to this Brave New World where any mention of death is banished. Just call it end-of-life. Euphemism is the first sign that you don't want to look too closely at what is being proposed.

Like a zombie who was supposed to have disappeared at the end of the first act of this drama, Section 1233 now has been revived. Even though it's taken on the form of a regulation instead of legislation. Thanks to the convenience of modern bureaucracy, all that messy business of congressional hearings and votes and open debate can be avoided just by issuing a new rule. But don't noise it about. Its modest backers have tried to keep its resuscitation as quiet as possible.

To quote an e-mail sent out by the Hon. Earl Blumenauer, a congressman from Oregon and an enthusiastic backer of this stealth regulation, the new rule represents a "quiet victory." Or as he told supporters: "While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops. ... The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it."

The surest sign of a suspect political project is that it has to be adopted as quietly as possible. In this case, quiet as death.

So those celebrating this latest advance in society's pervasive culture of death are advised to sip their champagne without making much ado about it. No sense in alarming the rubes, who tend to have this irrational attachment to life.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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