It has been said that President Obama’s healthcare law contains language that could be interpreted to require the type of counseling for the elderly that leads to an early death; to wit death panels. The media has been full of such opinions, both pro and con.
At the crux of the discussion is a new health care regulation that took effect January 1. It offers Medicare recipients voluntary end-of-life planning. This provision had been dropped from the health care reform bill previously, but is now back in place by fiat, it would seem. According to a news report, “The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.”
The problem with the regulation is best defined by Ron Panzer, founder of Hospice Patients Alliance, who tells readers that the new federal regulation is “about encouraging the use of advance directives, DNRs [Do Not Resuscitate orders], Living Wills, and appointing someone as power of attorney to help make medical decisions should you not be able to do so at some point. But what its mostly about is getting people into hospice sooner”
Panzer, as well as others including this writer, believes that the goal is cost-saving by pressing patients who are facing death into situations where they will be neglected, denied basic care and literally excused from life. It has already been shown that documents such as living wills and DNR orders can be interpreted in such a way that a persons life becomes easily expunged. Its the “hes going to die anyway” argument as federal policy.
The government wants to promote hospice. Its a good way to manage the population. It balances the budget and provides services for the elderly at the cheapest price. Even better, it will be the chosen vehicle to provide hastened deaths for the disabled, dementia patients and others selected for end-of-life treatment by the bureaucrats who use the Complete Lives System. Will the criteria for being considered as having lived a “complete life” be expanded in the future? You can be sure…
I decided to take a look at the overarching question which is whether or not proponents of euthanasia are an integral part of promoting and marketing this new policy.
The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has featured on its web site “talking points” for its collaborators on the “New Medicare Advance Planning Regulation.” While CAPC points out that the regulation does not specifically address palliative care, per se, it has woven the subject into the discussion outline. Among the subjects addressed are advance directives and benefits of the new regulation for the patients who want “more control” over their end-of-life care.
Obama recess appointee, Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a proponent of what he defines as better end-of-life care, is at the center of the controversy. Lest we forget, Berwick has been a longtime advocate of health care rationing, which is in fact, euthanasia plain and simple.
Dr. Milton Wolf, writing in The Washington Times on Berwick, pointed out, “Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obamas choice as Medicare chief, in a profoundly arrogant move, reinstated, effective this week, the very end-of-life provision that Congress rejected, but with an accelerated payment scheme that effectively will result in even more elderly Americans being nudged to forgo medical care. Sidestepping Americans and their representatives in Congress is nothing new for Dr. Berwick”
Ezekiel Emanuel, another of Obama’s health advisors, is on record advancing the idea that, because there are scarce medical resources, tough decisions have to be made. Emanuel’s “complete lives system” prioritizes younger people who have not yet lived a complete life, and also incorporates concepts such as prognosis and lotteries as ways of determining who gets treatment and who does not.
Clearly, the question of how this new regulation will affect the future health and well-being of those facing illness will continue to be examined. But one thing is certain: prescribing an early exit for lives deemed unworthy of existence should never be public policy.
Let your voice be heard that all persons matter and have a right to live, no matter their age or condition. To register your opposition to this imposed regulation, contact the following at the addresses below.
President Barack Obama http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius http://www.hhs.gov/ContactUs.html
Senators (alphabetical list) http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
House of Representatives (find your representative by typing in your zip code on the top left of the page) http://www.house.gov/
Addendum:Late today (Wednesday), it was announced that the Obama administration is planning to revise the so-called “death panel” regulation. However, since we cannot accept assurances from the New York Times, leader of the Obama Admiration Society, we will report further when we see a revised regulation firmly in place. In the meantime, I am not buying it.