Duty to Die

The cost of health fcare or DOD is squeezing other budget essentials. Most particulally, the growing costs along three lines merit special attention

  • Retirees
  • Dependents
  • TBI and PTSD for the active force along with dramatic changes in the WIA/KIA ratio (more survivors with long term care and rehab needs

What to do?

  • Raise co-pays and enrollment fees
  • Revisit draft vs All-Volunteer Force
  • Grow understanding of and treatment for PTSD, TBI and othr traumatic battlefield injuries

The Duty to Die culture gained some notoriety in the 1980–and Colorado Governor Richard Lamm used this phrase often. This is different from Death Panels–for the decision with duty to die lies with individual/family/empowered next of kin, not the governement or a government commissioned panel.

It is closer to hospice and those who believe in a dignified death

The numbers are striking–the amount of health care costs for the average individual in the last 6-12 months of life can approach 50% of all health care dollars spent in a lifetime–and those last months are often spent in limited functioning or vegetative states

I see this debate as much or more more about human dignity than simply $$. But the economic, social and psychological costs are real. Been to a nursing home lately?

This is a very important discussion that we most have with ourselves, our families and society


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Mark A. Patterson

With respect to “duty to die”, I’ve seen interviews with people in the final months/days of life who are undergoing very expensive treatments for a very short extended life span. When asked if they would spend their own money for the same treatment and short extension, they often said no. But, since it was not their money (at least not directly), they had the treatment. That helps explain how much they themselves value the little extra time. So, it does comes down to $$ at some point, just who’s $$. Assuming you had $250k, would you spend it for 3-6 months of life, or leave it to your heirs?

Janis Heim

I am more interested in the right to live being cut short by penny-pinching bureaucrats and greedy “health professionals”. Most of my family had no problem dying when they wanted to; it was getting help to live that was in short supply. Keeping semi-conscious people alive indefinitely depends on hope of recovery, and should not be exploited for anyone’s greed. Convincing fully conscious people they have a duty to die for the good of others can be very good in the military but criminal in civilian life, and I would prefer to keep it that way.

Al Fullbright

Of course, those expensive treatments are very expensive because they are not mainstream and the doctors are super-elitists who demand high payments for these treatments so they can finance their clinics and research. The cost problem is one of cost structure; not of actual costs. Why would a CAT scan cost more than an ex-ray when the CAT scan unit was a gift to the hospital?