In the ramp-up to the ObamaCare vote in late 2009, Rep. Alan Grayson took to the House floor and mocked the Republicans’ health-care plan, which he characterized as “Don’t get sick,” and if you do get sick, “Die quickly.”
It was a political exaggeration, part of his plan to show how out of touch his Republican counterparts were with people who need honest health care.
But over in Japan, the country’s new finance minister, Taro Aso, is espousing this very idea: “Hurry up and die,” he told the nation’s elderly, calling them a drain on resources. The Guardian has some choice Aso quotes:
“Heaven forbid if you are forced to live on when you want to die. I would wake up feeling increasingly bad knowing that [treatment] was all being paid for by the government,” he said during a meeting of the national council on social security reforms. “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”
Aso’s comments are likely to cause offence in Japan, where almost a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 60. The proportion is forecast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years.
What an as-o!
Aso, who is 72, belongs to the oddly named Liberal Democratic Party, which has held power in Japan almost consistently since 1955.
Worse, he then coined the term “tube people.”
To compound the insult, he referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as “tube people”. The health and welfare ministry, he added, was “well aware that it costs several tens of millions of yen” a month to treat a single patient in the final stages of life.
Aso attempted to walk back his comments: “I said what I personally believe, not what the end-of-life medical care system should be,” he said. “It is important that you be able spend the final days of your life peacefully.”
Japan: Where Logan’s Run isn’t just a sci-fi movie from the ’70s.