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.
Before the grifters, charlatans, flim-flammers and political opportunists that make up the leadership of the conservative movement get a chance to crank out a million misleading words on this, here it is:
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.
Advanced directives are state law. Here’s Ohio, in plain language. This is from a hospital site:
Advance Directives are legal planning tools that help you make your wishes known. In Ohio, we have 5 Advance Directive tools:
· Living Will
· Durable Power or Attorney for Health Care
· Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Comfort Care Order
· Mental Health Declarative
· Organ Donation
Advanced directives aren’t controversial. They aren’t new. Ohio’s law went in nineteen years ago. They aren’t frightening. There are provisions in all fifty states for anyone to draft an advanced directive, with or without a lawyer. All this rule change does is allow Medicare to pay doctors for a consult on the medical issues surrounding end of life care.
This rule change gives patients and prospective patients more information, not less. This rule change allows more autonomy and power for the individual to make decisions, not less.
That Sarah Palin was able to launch her celebrity career by misleading and terrifying millions of people is shameful. That conservatives and media went along and managed to completely muddle an issue that was debated and discussed and implemented at the state level 20 years ago is shameful. But it happened, and it will happen again.
“While we are very happy with the result, we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Mr. Blumenauer’s office said in an e-mail in early November to people working with him on the issue. “This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”
I think they should shout if from the rooftops. Allowing conservatives to mislead people is just wrong.