Star Trek in general embraced an Obama-esque, hopey-changey vision of the future where socialism had eliminated all money, and hedonism had replaced all religion. All of which makes the willingness of the Enterprise crew to sacrifice themselves to save the Federation somewhat inexplicable. Europe has largely already achieved a god-free hedonistic socialist welfare state and its citizens seem to have no interest whatsoever in fighting for their culture, but anyway…
Star Trek Voyager, the weakest sister in the Trek Family (yes, that includes Star Trek V and the 1970’s Saturday Morning Cartoon), had an episode that was probably intended to argue in favor of a universal health care system. It was one of those episodes where Voyager was trying to focus on something other than Jeri Ryan’s “borg implants” and make a social statement. And in their inept and ham-handed way, they succeeded… in making the case against it.
In the episode “Critical Care,” the bald doctor, Robert Picardo, is kidnapped and forced to work in an alien hospital. He is appalled to learn that some patients receive better care than others.
These patients, the administrator explains, have a higher treatment coefficient, and it determines the level of care they receive. It is derived through a complex formula based on the individual’s value to society, a prioritizing system for limited resources.
Now, where do we find anything like that on planet Earth in the 21st Century? How about, in the writings of President Dum-Dum’s chief medical advisor, Ezekial Emanual:
“In the next decade every country will face very hard choices about how to allocate scarce medical resources. There is no consensus about what substantive principles should be used to establish priorities for allocations,” he wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 19, 2002. Yet Dr. Emanuel writes at length about who should set the rules, who should get care, and who should be at the back of the line.
Dr. Emanuel makes a clear choice: “When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get changes that are attenuated.”
The youngest are also put at the back of the line: “Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments. . . . (thelancet.com, Jan. 31, 2009).
So, if “Death Panels” sounds like something from a bad episode of Star Trek… it is.