Last week Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that doctors could not unilaterally ignore a Toronto family’s decision to keep their near-dead husband and father on life support. In the same breath, however, the court also confirmed that, under the laws of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, a group of government-appointed adjudicators could yet overrule the family’s choice. That tribunal, not the family or the doctors, has the ultimate power to pull the plug.
In other words: Canada has death panels.
I use that term advisedly. Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made it famous in the summer of 2009, when Congress was fighting over whether to pass Obamacare. As Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over health care, we should pause to wonder why millions of Canadians have come to accept the functional equivalent of an idea that almost sank health care reform even though, in this country, it was imaginary.
So death panels are a good thing, but Palin is still a crazy lady for worrying about having them.