Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir
By ROBERT PEAR
WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.
Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.
While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.
Medicare Gives CPR to ‘Death Panels’
December 27, 2010
Reviving an extremely unpopular bit of legislation, Medicare is moving forward with what they deem ‘end-of-life planning’ even though it was struck from the final version of the ObamaCare bill that was pushed through congress earlier this year. Serious doubts arose after the public caught wind of the ‘death panels’ and raised suspicions about the real reasoning behind such an agenda.
The new provision calls for Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries make some of the complex decisions that arise when their loved one approaches death.
The unpopular portion of the bill has been re-branded and made to sound like a benefit instead of the invasive and immoral bureaucratic loophole, that it is, meant to cut corners by cutting service to patients. Despite the resounding cries against such ‘death panels’, the concept is still being reworked and shoved down our throats.
In an attempt to give the bill some resistance, many states have filed suit against the Federal government over what they feel is an unconstitutional Bill.
The wording of the new counseling strategy is nebulous but it would seem that doctors are paid to advise on patients on ‘end-of-life’ care.
“This regulation could be modified or reversed” warned Earl Blumenauer author of the original end-of-life proposal and major supporter of such legislation, “We are not out of the woods yet”.
‘End-of-life planning’ goes into effect January 1.
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