The Way We Die Now

Sep 27, 2009 | 0 comments

At The New York Times online, Timothy Eagan has written a powerful opinion piece about the option of “walking away from the medical-industrial complex” at the end of life. The Way We Die Now looks at how the governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, who was a doctor before becoming governor, has been trying to engage the public in the taboo topic of health care and end-of-life care.

From the NYT piece: About $67 billion — nearly a third of the money spent by Medicare — goes to patients in the last two years of life. The need to spend less money at the end of life “is the elephant in the room,” Evan Thomas wrote in “The Case for Killing Granny,” the cover story in last week’s Newsweek. “Everyone sees it but no one wants to talk about it.”

Eagan rightly notes that “the American political debate on health care treats end-of-life care like a contagion — an unspeakable one at that.” This is an important piece to read and consider.

A Good Goodbye