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Medicare revives ‘death panels’

Medicare revives ‘death panels’

Posted: Friday, December 31, 2010 8:01 pm

The Press 12/30

Washington, DC – Medicare released a new regulation that will pay physicians for discussing end-of-life treatment options with their patients. This provision was originally included in “ObamaCare,” but Democrats removed it after a hailstorm of criticism arose regarding so-called “death panels” that would allegedly pressure elderly patients to forgo life-saving treatment.

The language comes from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the author of the original end-of-life proposal, whose state is one of only two that allow physician-assisted suicide. The New York Times reported an email from his office saying, “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”

The “voluntary advance care planning” language was hidden on page 238 of a nearly 700-page document issued November 29, 2010, the implementation of which begins in four days on January 1, 2011. The regulation will cover “(1) [a]n individual’s ability to prepare an advance directive in the case where an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions. (2) Whether or not the physician is willing to follow the individual’s wishes as expressed in an advance directive.” 

Rather than the original five-year reimbursement, the new regulation will pay doctors for yearly “end-of-life” consultations with their patients.

Liberty Counsel is challenging the ObamaCare law, which will now be heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Norman Moon found that Liberty University and two individual plaintiffs had standing to assert their constitutional claims against the individual and employer mandates in the healthcare law and that their claims were ripe for consideration. 

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “It is not surprising that ObamaCare or any government-directed healthcare program would ration care for the elderly or those with life-threatening illnesses. When you remove the sanctity of life from the equation and place healthcare under the control of government bureaucrats, you end up with increased costs, decreased care, and death panels.”

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