A Death Panel Overruled

A Death Panel of One, consisting of the woman who’ll be in charge of the death panel that will come into being with the full implementation of Obamacare.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to intervene to overrule her own Department’s rule that would have left a 10-year-old girl to die because her chronological age left her too young to be eligible to compete for a lung transplant that could save her life.

Sebelius insisted she had no authority to waive the rule and so to allow the girl to compete with adults for an organ donor’s lung, never minding that the Congress that authorized her Department to have the rule assured her she did.

Sebelius insisted she didn’t want to play God and tear-jerkingly assured the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that she “can’t imagine anything more difficult” and that she “can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies” while cynically ignoring the fact that by refusing to act, she was taking the “difficult” step of choosing “who lives and who dies.”

This Death Panel of One further justified her refusal by claiming

[T]there are about 40 seriously ill Pennsylvanians over the age of 12 also waiting for a lung transplant[.]

Never mind that the girl is at the top of the children’s list, so the other children’s status wouldn’t be affected, except through a slight improvement in their chances for getting a pediatric lung.  And that the girl wouldn’t go to the top of the adult’s list as a result of the rule’s waiver—she’d only be eligible to compete for a place in the list.

Fortunately, Federal District Judge Michael Baylson has overruled the Death Panel of One, at least temporarily, ordering Sebelius to waive the rule at least until 14 June, when he’ll have a full hearing on the rule.

But this is temporary, both for the 10-year-old and for Americans generally.  This is the sort of thing we can expect out of Obamacare’s more formal Death Panel, and too few Americans will have the resources to fight that one’s…decisions.

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