The answer is: not much. Or at least he wouldn't have if Investor's Business Daily hadn't run this editorial in which the author says, and I quote, "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
There's just one problem.
Hawking is British. Born there. Lived there all his life. And recently visited a NHS hospital.
So much for being told to "curl up in a corner and die". It is this kind of uninformed rhetoric that is driving the debate on health care reform towards the loony bin. The facts, apparently, don't matter. The House bill will NOT force seniors into mandatory visits by "counselors" designed to ease them into euthanasia. It DOES provide for more information and education about living wills. Having had an elderly parent with COPD and emphysema who had no wish to be sustained mechanically, I can tell you that a living will is not about giving up and choosing to die. It is about knowing what your options are when the inevitable arrives and having a plan in place before that happens.
The National Down Syndrome Congress's statement on health care sounds quite a bit like the current House bill. Far from death panels designed to determine whether an individual with Downs will get health care, this system would provide them with comprehensive coverage.
As someone who has a "preexisting" condition, every time we change insurance I cringe. Will this be the time that I'm denied coverage? Or will they cover me, but not the treatment for my condition? As someone who's been denied care in the past by insurance companies, I have no illusions. All it takes is some insurance committee to decide that I'm costing them too much money.
Our current system already has all the conditions in place that the opponents of health care espouse-rationing and discrimination of those with disabilities, the elderly and the sick. We see it in the faces of those whose only choice is to go to the emergency room, the chronically ill who can't afford needed medication, and in those who are denied coverage because of preexisting conditions or treatments deemed "experimental" that have decades long track records overseas.
We need health care reform. We need it now.
H/T to the Daily Dish, Alex Massie of the Spectator and Anonymous Liberal.