President Obama famously suggested that the old might prefer pain meds to hip replacements. But now a report from Texas indicates that the old might not even be deemed worthy of pain pills:

“I was armed with a wad of prescriptions that needed to be filled before we reached home late one Saturday.  Since mother’s pharmacy was located in a Wal-Mart, I left the scripts with capable pharmacists and shopped awhile.  Returning to pick up her medicines the pharmacist called me to come over and discuss the different medications and their uses and required knowledge.  Then he paused and said,

“Now, I need to tell you that your mother’s pain medication will have to be purchased by you, as Medicare will not pay for these, as your mother is too old.

“Thinking I heard the man wrong, I asked him,

“Did I hear you correctly? Did I hear you say my mother is too old for pain medication following surgery?

“The druggist, smiling, repeated his previous comment, reiterating that Medicare, at least in his district, refuses to pay for pain medication for seniors, even following surgery.

“I told him to fill Mother’s pain medications, then wrote a check to pay the pharmacy.  As I left there I wondered, how will we proceed from here as a nation?  Will we subject seniors the indignity of not even providing a simple pain pill of significant strength in the last days on earth?  As I left the store I pondered the old sentiment regarding aging, that being it isn’t for cowards!”

Supporters of a state takeover of the medical system will tell you that rationing “already exists” with your private insurance company. Here’s the difference:

A private firm may render the heartbreaking decision that a treatment is experimental and has not been shown to yield results. They therefore will not pay. and you will appeal.

The government will in all likelihood simply say: You’ve lived long enough.

And, hey, try questioning this verdict.