If the government weren’t involved, it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to plan for. But since it is, for some odd reason, Soylent Green comes to mind.

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.




  1. bobbo, how do you know what you know and how do you change your mind says:

    Mickey==thats what I said. That is the balance offsetting the Union support.

    Try to keep up.

  2. Mr. Fusion says:

    The real death panels are found in Arizona, where they actually make decisions denying health care, and Texas, where Governor Bush signed a law that allowed hospitals to pull the plug if the family couldn’t afford the care.

    It appears that the right wing nuts are just delighted when the matters of life and death are reduced to insurance company profits.


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