Gallery 2
Grandma On The Iceberg
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Gallery 2-Page 2

Is America Preparing To Practice Sinilicide?

By James Donahue

Richard Foster, actuary for the government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs, says the recent discovery that a glitch in the new health-care law will let a few million “middle-class” citizens qualify for nearly free health insurance is keeping him up at night.

Foster can rest easy, however. Now that the “problem” has been discovered, the rush is on in Washington to institute a fix before the law goes into effect in 2014. The mistake would have qualified up to 3 million retirees on fixed incomes for health benefits without facing the costly deductable that slams the pocketbooks of those who can least afford to pay.

Anyone that has been treated by a doctor or admitted to a hospital recently knows how devastating the medical bills that arrive in the mail can seem . . . even for those that have some form of health insurance. Imagine the cost for those left hanging with no health insurance coverage at all. This crisis has grown to a point where the sick, elderly, unemployed and low income workers are choosing not to seek medical help rather than risk going without food or failing to pay important things like rent and utility bills.

Some like James Verone of Georgia have chosen creative ways to try to solve their medical problems. Left unemployed, without health insurance, and too crippled with pain to even hold a part-time job to stay alive, Verone held up a bank, demanded only a dollar, and then waited for the police to arrest him for bank robbery. He was choosing a life in prison, a warm bed to sleep in, three meals a day and prison health care as an improvement to the life he was being forced to live on the street.

Verone was manipulating a system that still demands, by law, that jail and prison inmates get treated for medical problems at state expense during their incarceration. The cold hearts in state and federal governments haven’t gotten around to shutting off that service yet. Now that Verone has drawn it to public attention, it will probably only be a matter of time.

There is a myth that some aboriginal tribes once practiced senilicide, or the killing of sick, elderly and disabled people, when there was a shortage of food. There has been a story that some Eskimo tribes sent the elderly off to die alone on the ice when they reached a point when they were no longer able to benefit the tribe. This story has been found to be untrue. In reality, most aboriginal tribes place the elderly . . . especially the grandmothers . . . in high regard. This seems to be true throughout the world. Except in America.

Here the rising cost of medical care, the high cost of prescription drugs, and the failure of government to provide adequate health care for everybody, may already be forcing a silent and unspoken practice of senilicide.

While most emergency rooms and medical clinics make it a practice to treat all patients that walk in their doors, the ones that have no insurance and no obvious means of paying for treatment receive no more than minimum treatment before being sent on their way.

How many sick, poverty stricken and elderly Americans are silently choosing pain and death because they cannot afford to visit a doctor’s office or get the care they really need in those local medical clinics?

The Eskimos didn’t really do it, but it appears that America is preparing to send the unwanted sick and elderly out on icebergs to die.