Barack Obama, from a Town Hall meeting, June 24, 2009. From the official White House transcript.
Q: ... President Obama, if your wife or your daughter became seriously ill and things were not going well, and the plan physicians told you they were doing everything that reasonably could be done, and you sought out opinions from some medical leaders in major centers and they said there's another option that you should pursue, but it was not covered in the plan, would you potentially sacrifice the health of your family for the greater good of insuring millions, or would you do everything you possibly could as a father and husband to get the best health care and outcome for your family?
A. Well, first of all, Doctor, I think it's a terrific question, and it's something that touches us all personally, especially when you start talking about end-of-life care. Some of you know my grandmother recently passed away, which was a very painful thing for me. She's somebody who helped raise me. But she's somebody who contracted what was diagnosed as terminal cancer; there was unanimity about that. They expected that she'd have six to nine months to life. She fell and broke her hip. And then the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough that they weren't sure how long she would last, whether she could get through the surgery.
And the President continued...
But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that's not making anybody's mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn't going to help, maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.
And this sums it up. Read that last part again: "...at least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn't going to help, maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."
And you know who decides that you are better off taking the painkiller and not getting the surgery?
Well, it ain't you.