Skip to comments.House Health Care Bill Gives Doctors Financial Incentive to Push Euthanasia
Posted on 08/10/2009 3:27:15 PM PDT by wagglebee
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- To hear backers of the government-run health care bill tell the story, pro-life advocates are making up wild-eyed claims about how the measure will push euthanasia. However, one leading bioethicist and a Washington Post Editorial Writer say the bill does give doctors financial incentive to push it.
At issue is Section 1233 of HR 3200, the government-run health care plan that the House will consider when it returns from its August recess.
The measure would pay physicians to give Medicare patients end-of-life counseling every five years or sooner if the patient has a terminal diagnosis.
While pro-life advocates say the section opens the door to physicians pushing euthanasia or withdrawal of lifesaving medical treatment, or even basic food and water, backers of the bill call the claims rubbish.
Charles Lane, an member of the editorial board of the liberal Washington Post newspaper, admits in a Saturday column that at least some of the concerns are well-founded.
"As I read it, Section 1233 is not totally innocuous," Lane writes, adding that it "addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones."
"Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren't quite 'purely voluntary,'" as backers of the bill assert, Lane adds. "To me, 'purely voluntary' means 'not unless the patient requests one.' Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that's an incentive to insist.
"Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they're in the meeting, the bill does permit 'formulation' of a plug-pulling order right then and there," Lane explains.
"What's more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation," Lane continues.
He points out the legislation says the doctor "shall" discuss "advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to"; "an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses" even though those are legal and not medical papers. The physician "shall" present "a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families."
"Admittedly, this script is vague and possibly unenforceable," Lane writes. "What are "key questions"? Who belongs on 'a list' of helpful 'resources?' The Roman Catholic Church? Jack Kevorkian?"
Ultimately, the Post editorial writer says "Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations."
"You don't have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach," he concludes.
Bioethicist Frank Beckwith notes Lane's analysis in comments of his own that appeared on the blog of the publication First Things.
"Supporters of H.R. 3200 claim that its end of life counseling provision, section 1233, is merely voluntary for the patient," Beckwith explains.
"But a closer look shows that section 1233 includes conditions and financial incentives for physicians and other health care providers that create a setting in which an elderly patients decision to appropriate this option is likely to be less than voluntary," he writes.
Beckwith says anyone with elderly parents should be "deeply concerned" about the section.
"If, lets say, H.R. 3200 or something close to it were to become law and the public option pushes private insurance into near non-existence (as would surely happen with all the incentives in place), then there will no neighboring state to which to run," he says. "You won't be able to take your business elsewhere, since there will be no elsewhere."
"And to whom will you issue your grievance, a special 'health court,'" Beckwith asks.
Such a court, he says, would be "one likely informed by a youth-worshipping culture and a utilitarian bioethics philosophy that sees the elderly (not to mention, handicapped infants) as burdens that are siphoning away valuable resources that could be put to better use in support of societys real persons and more productive contributors."
Like illegal aliens?
democRATs are vile creatures; damned them all to hell!
Diabolical little provisions make this a true horror.
Not just money to convince great-granny to off herself, but also the hidden methods to get around Obama’s promise that he won’t come between you and your doctor: Sure, your Doctor can tell you what is needed for your health and quality of life; it’s just that Uncle Obama and his minions won’t let your Gubmint insurance pay for it.
So it is then a question of whether your Doctor likes you enough to provide the necessary treatment for nothing.
“No,” says Obama. “We didn’t come between you and your Doctor, our Health Choices Administration (HCA) just won’t approve your treatment.
This is the “Death Panel” Sarah Palin was talking about, and it’s a very real part of the Obama Plan.
Let’s get back to basics. The assertion has been made, and all of this furor has been created by that assertion, that the health system is “broken”.
Just how is our current system “broken”?
ps - I got your “false choices” right here, Barack.
1) Too many health care dollars are going to ambulance chasers. Too much health care money goes into defensive medicine.
2) Medical billing software is terrible. Unless a detailed bill is requested, there's no way to know what you're paying for.
3) Cost shifting, with the government a portion of medical costs they mandate on to those outside of government programs. The government pays between 60 and 82 percent of cost.
Rep. Tsongas explained that this section of the bill is merely so the doctor will be paid for his/her time doing this counseling
Why does there have to be a specific mention of reimbursing a doctor for talking to a patient about a specific issue? Surely there are millions of issues doctors and patients discuss. They aren’t all itemized in the Congressional bill.
Why cant the doctor just be paid for the time spent with the patient no matter what they talk about?
Very good point.
But a bigger point - what the hxxx does the government have doing involved in ANY discussions of end of life care in any way whatsoever!
We are not Britain, Canada, or the USSR - yet.
That’s the point, I know - they want us to be asap.
Amazing to me that the leftists who cut their teeth on telling America about “the right to privacy” for women and/or the right for a woman to make the “choice” about abortions between her and her doctor and they did not want the government involved in telling a woman and her doctor what and what not to do!
Now these same people see no problem having the federal government involved in telling the elderly, the infirm, those with dimentia, and in paying the doctor to have this end of life discussion and even dictating how often it must be done!
Oh the denial and hypocrisy!