'Death Panel' Lunacy Takes Dying With Dignity Off the Table

Want to die on a machine? Fine. But let the rest of us face our end bravely and wisely.

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The flap over Section 1233 is an illustrative example of the way that Obama's foes are resisting healthcare reform—by picking little segments of a complicated bill and distorting (or concocting) their effects. But not all conservatives see "evil" plots in end-of-life planning. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, has sponsored such legislation in the Senate. And last week, he told the Washington Post that Palin's interpretation was "nuts."

Indeed, Isakson says Palin has it perfectly backward. A living will "empowers you to be able to make decisions at a difficult time rather than having the government making them for you," he said.

We not only share the same doom. We also, because of the web of private and public insurance programs that sustains our healthcare system, pretty much die on each other's dime. Sustaining "life" artificially is like every other healthcare cost. It raises private insurance premiums and the expense of government, imposes a burden on businesses and entrepreneurs, hikes taxes, hurts our economic competitiveness, and runs up debts that must be paid by our children and their children.

"Like leaves which fall off a tree forming the humus in which other plants can grow, we've got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines . . . so that our kids can build a reasonable life," Lamm said wisely in 1984. "We can prolong our lives a few months or a year, but at what price?"