In June of this year, Kathleen Sebelius came under intense public pressure to save the life of 11-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who needed a double lung transplant, and had five weeks to live. Murnaghan's parents turned to the media, lawyers, and their congressional representative to get the rules suspended for what was current policy: that children under 12 could not receive adult lungs.
In response to pleas to suspend the rule to save Sarah's life, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a political appointee said, "I would suggest, sir, that, again, this is an incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies.
The medical evidence and the transplant doctors who are making the rule - and have had the rule in place since 2005 making a delineation between pediatric and adult lungs, because lungs are different that other organs - that it's based on the survivability [chances]."
The day after Sebelius made the outrageous statement that, "Someone lives and someone dies," a Federal Judge ordered her to suspend the rule.
The latest report of Sarah Murnaghan I could find was from September 1st, 2013, in Philly.com that Sarah was home and recovering after a double lung transplant.
It's important to remember that Sebelius will be serving as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), presumably until 2015, when actuary projections suggest there will be a need for a 15 member panel of yet more political appointees, to make up new rules to cut the costs of Medicare. Even then, if the panel does not come up with cost cuts, Sebelius will be the rule-maker.
So, as Pat Roberts calls for Sebelius to resign, it really doesn't matter in the end, because she will be replaced by someone who is tasked, by law, with being the final say on your healthcare, unless you wage a media campaign, get legal counsel, find a federal judge, and you are the only one doing it.
Sarah's story reveals that, sometimes, rules are stupid and they need to be fought, as her parents did. But, it also reveals the almost cavalier approach to the value of human life that is now in the hands of one political appointee. What kind of sick person would want the job if Sebelius is kicked to the curb?
Sarah's parents worked to save her life because nobody else in the entire world cared about Sarah as much as they did. How does it happen that millions of people seemingly want the government to be the rule-makers when it comes to whether you will breathe another day, or 15 days, or just a few minutes?
Yesterday, Sebelius trumpeted the need to move ahead with the implementation of the law by stating, "For millions of Americans delay is not an option," and that, "People's lives depend on this."
Yes, and some will live and some will die, and it's her job to make the rules.
Tell me, if certain stupid rules are in place because of survivability, what rules will political appointees with no medical credentials whatsoever come up with to cut costs? For that matter, if we just buried $300 million with a dead website, was anyone's life potentially saved? How many double lung transplants would that have bought? Does anybody care?
It's not "your money or your life" - it's your life and your money and you lost control of both to the government. A government that spends your money with reckless abandon. Yet, how does it view your life when push comes to shove?
How in the world do we treat others, when we lose control of that decision and give it to proxies who do not have any ties to the human being crying out for help?
Under Obamacare, the value of life, from here on out in the United States of America, is political and monetary. The cold angry realm of politics has been put in charge of the weakest and most vulnerable among us.
It could have been defunded, but pride kept 25 Senators from doing so. It could have been delayed, but that is, like everything else in the law, "determined by the Secretary." Now, we are left to appeal to constituent services (and hope they leave our politics out of it) as they go ask HHS.