August 9, 2009

Just some facts..

Sarah Palin has been getting a lot of criticism for suggesting that ObamaCare will include "death panels" to decide when people should die. Such as this "...Except, there is nothing in any proposal by any Democrat, Republican, Greenie, Communist, New Nazi, or a Flat Earther on health care that even hints about a "death panel." You're just making stuff up. In fact, it's hard to know just what the hell you're referring to..."

From Dr. Betsey McCaughey's rebuttal. (Link from a long post full of good info at Conservatives4palin.)

End of Life Counseling

There have been flawed criticisms of my reading of a section of H.R. 3200. The critics have hastily read page 425 of the HR 3200, rather than reading the full relevant text (425-443) or considering the reality of being a frail elderly patient. Here are four facts frequently overlooked:
1. The counseling includes not only living wills and durable powers of attorney, but specific methods to end life. On page 430, the bill prescribes counseling on whether or not to forego nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics, in states where such counseling is permitted.

2. There is an inherent conflict of interest in this counseling. Medicare funding is going to be cut 10% over the next decade ($500 billion in cuts) to pay for the health reform legislation, at the same ti e that Medicare enrollment is projected to increase 30%. More people to care for and fewer dollars will necessitate rationing. It is understandable that the government wants to curtail spending on end of life care. But the use of specific "patient decision aids" (p.443) discussed in the legislation such as scripts, videos, and brochures is problematic. If United Healthcare provided end of life counseling with a script prepared by the insurance company, there would be up uproar over the obvious conflict of interest.

The author of "Pants on Fire" should read on to pages 443 to see that patients will participate in "shared decision making." Shared with whom? The government certified counselors. No where is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say. The bill merely says the patient's views will be "incorporated" into the decision making...
Posted by John Weidner at August 9, 2009 8:15 AM
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