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Death Panels Revisited
Wall Street Journal ^ | Dec 29 2010 | Opinion page

Posted on 12/30/2010 11:24:51 AM PST by worst-case scenario

At a stroke, Medicare chief Donald Berwick has revived the "death panel" debate from two summers ago. Allow us to referee, because this topic has been badly distorted by the political process—and in a rational world, it wouldn't be a political question at all.

On Sunday, Robert Pear reported in the New York Times that Medicare will now pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling as part of seniors' annual physicals. A similar provision was originally included in ObamaCare, but Democrats stripped it out amid the death panel furor. Now Medicare will enact the same policy through regulation.

We hadn't heard about this development until Mr. Pear's story, but evidently Medicare tried to prevent the change from becoming public knowledge. The provision is buried in thousands of Federal Register pages setting Medicare's hospital and physician price controls for 2011 and concludes that such consultations count as a form of preventative care.

The office of Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, the author of the original rider who then lobbied Medicare to cover the service, sent an email to supporters cheering this "victory" but asked that they not tell anyone for fear of perpetuating "the 'death panel' myth." The email added that "Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch."

But if Dr. Berwick's methods are troubling, the substance is more than defensible. Certain quarters on the political right are following the media's imagination and blasting Dr. Berwick's decision as the tangible institution of death panels. But the rule-making is not coercive and gives seniors more autonomy, not less.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: deathpanel; deathpanels; freepressforpalin; medicare; obamacare; wsj
Seems the Journal is angry about the way the "end-of-life counseling" provision is being enacted - through regulation.

At the same time, they think it's a great idea to pay for this type of counseling - which they say has already been taking place for some time. They also say that to call them "death panels" is a complete misrepresentation.

1 posted on 12/30/2010 11:24:59 AM PST by worst-case scenario
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To: worst-case scenario
The WSJ has (at least) two positions with which I heartily disagree:

1) We need to kill off the old folks: they cost too much.
2) We need to import more illegal Mexicans: they work cheap.

2 posted on 12/30/2010 11:31:11 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: worst-case scenario

Berwick would have been right at home in T4.


3 posted on 12/30/2010 11:32:44 AM PST by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: worst-case scenario

Ofcourse it is death panel. The bureacracy will decide what treatments as necessary using AGE, Income (nursing home) and lastly ourcome. If they have a end-of-life document to fall back on, treatment will be denied. Simple.

Especially with the BB’ers hitting the system, must cull the herd.


4 posted on 12/30/2010 11:34:15 AM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Marty62

If old timers have been making this decision by themselves all along, as some have suggested, why is the government involved ?


5 posted on 12/30/2010 11:37:03 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: worst-case scenario
At the same time, they think it's a great idea to pay for this type of counseling - which they say has already been taking place for some time. They also say that to call them "death panels" is a complete misrepresentation.

It may be a misrepresentation at this point, but it opens the door. Once the door is open then it will evolve into seniors being counseled (pressured?) towards, or given limited choices regarding their health.

6 posted on 12/30/2010 11:37:37 AM PST by oldbrowser (Blaming the prince of fools shouldn't blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that elected him)
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To: worst-case scenario

Actually that is not the point, the article specifies that the debate has been politicized. The issue is that it was done ‘behind the scenes’ and that continues the current administration and their appointees efforts to circumvent the court of public opinion and Congress to achieve their desires.

And no matter how you slice it, at the end of the day, when government is involved in health care decisions eventually they will begin to ration treatment based on the direction of political winds, all in the name of ‘controlling costs’.


7 posted on 12/30/2010 11:54:08 AM PST by TXHunter
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To: worst-case scenario
Disagree. IIRC the original "death panel" section not only made the counseling mandatory, there was a control mechanism [Sec 1233 (b) Expansion of Physician Quality Reporting Initiative for End of Life Care] and some other provision that doctors would be penalized if they did not offer the care or even provided treatment outside of the guidelines.

Now, I agree with the premise that medicare recipients are entitled to being fully informed medical consumers and if that means compensating the doctors for their time in giving that information, so be it. However, I suspect this is more likely a "camel's nose" situation and that the metrics from the reimbursement coding will eventually come into play. The original bill laid bare the intent and I have zero trust that this administration is not trying to "boil the frog" one degree at a time.

8 posted on 12/30/2010 11:59:26 AM PST by NonValueAdded (Palin 2012: don't retreat, just reload)
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To: ClearCase_guy
In this case, fully a fifth of the U.S. population will be over age 65 inside of two decades, and whatever the other marvels of modern medicine, the mortality rate remains 100%. Advance care planning lays out the options and allows patients, in consultation with their providers and family members, to ensure that their future treatment is consistent with their wishes and moral values should they become too sick to decide for themselves.

The real death panel myth is that the term ever had anything to do with something so potentially beneficial. We wrote at the time that Sarah Palin's coinage was sensationalistic, but it was meant to illustrate a larger truth about a world of finite resources and infinite entitlement wants.

Under highly centralized national health care, the government inevitably makes cost-minded judgments about what types of care are "best" for society at large, and the standardized treatments it prescribes inevitably steal life-saving options from individual patients. This is precisely why many liberals like former White House budget director Peter Orszag support government-run health care to control costs: Technocrats in government can then decide who gets Avastin for cancer, say, and who doesn't.

It doesn't matter if you have private insurance, long term care, or government sponsored insurance, some medical proceedures are just too expensive or too experimental for the "average" person.

Let's back up and get serious for a second. I know a young woman in her 30's who was denied an experimental medical procedure that might have saved her life and she ended up dying.

I live in a community where a local coach wanted to do an experimental stem cell treatment for brain cancer where the "down payment" on the proceedure was a quarter million dollars. He publicly said that he could not burden his family by trying to raise the down payment, possibly not surviving and leaving them with the rest of the debt.

On the otherhand he was willing to do public fundraising appeals for people to donate the downpayment for the proceedure. In this last example the guy realized that the extreme cost of the experimental proceedure would have committed his family to poverty and probably bankruptcy. He decided that from his finacial perspective, it wasn't worth it. He also decided that if someone else would pay for it, he would gladly accept, even if there was a good chance that the proceedure may not work.

With medical expenses we have created the illusion that they somehow don't cost the individual anything. It is often justified that if the people have to think about the cost, then only the "rich" and priveledged will have "proper" health care.

The reality is that in Canada, there is a shortage of some high tech treatment equipment and people die of cancer prior to getting to the front of the line to get their turn at the rationed amount of equipment. Those with money, come to the USA for treatments/diagnosis or they do medical tourism to other countries.

There are shortages in other countries with nationalized health care. While I am afraid of government imposed death panels, making life and death decisions based on their "political" view of how good a person is or how valuable they are to society; I also feel that it will be inevitable in a national health care system.

Having watched two elderly parents die (one well and one badly), I can say that it was easy for me to sign the "no heroic measures" legal documents when I got my will done and I have an understanding of those who talk about death with dignity. All of us will die eventually.

The real question is what are we willing to have expended at the end of a full life in an attempt to prolong or delay death for another few days or weeks? If it is our money and we are of sound mind, then we should be able to spend what we want. If it is other peoples money, I am not so sure.

For young people tragically struck down by an accident, I understand the appeal of heroic medical actions, but for most, I think that a better understanding of hospice care is a way of controlling end-of-life medical costs. I want to emphasize that I am not a proponent of a Soylent Green society or it state assisted suicide (going home) approach to population control.

I really don't like the idea of socialized medicine, but if we are going to have it, there will need to be death panels. The key is that they don't look at things like loyalty to the ruling party elite or stupid politically correct things, but on the cost and likely chances of survival and that they do it evenly and fairly. That is why I don't trust government on this topic as I don't think they will be able to resist picking "favorites."

9 posted on 12/30/2010 12:13:24 PM PST by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: worst-case scenario

What’s the penalty for dying, without government-funded advice on the subject?


10 posted on 12/30/2010 12:14:08 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Marty62

Leftie 0bamacare apologists will switch from

“there are no death panels”
to
“at least the insurance companies aren’t deciding”

so fast that it’ll make your head spin.


11 posted on 12/30/2010 12:15:46 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

My Mother died at 90 at home quietly in her sleep.

The month before she died I took her to the hospital because she got up AND FELL,while I was at the mail box. Xrays were clear. The Doctor said that they wanted to keep her for a few days. I asked my Mother if she wanted to stay at the Hospital or come home with me. She said I want to go home with you. and we left. She told me later she didn’t want them poking and prodding her. BTW, that was the one and ONLY time she used Medicare. KEEP THE F-ING GOV. OUT OF PEOPLES LIVES.


12 posted on 12/30/2010 12:17:56 PM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: MrB

Yeah well, I LIKE my insurance company.


13 posted on 12/30/2010 12:19:45 PM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: TXHunter

And no matter how you slice it, at the end of the day, when government is involved in health care decisions eventually they will begin to ration treatment based on the direction of political winds, all in the name of ‘controlling costs’.
...............

Exactly, this is the whole point of having such a reg.


14 posted on 12/30/2010 12:22:42 PM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Marty62; All

Even though we had advanced directives for my husband who was dying of Alzheimer’s, it was stated that he could be kept alive by artificial means for up to a month even though it was hopeless.


15 posted on 12/30/2010 12:39:00 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin

That was the Families Right, to make a personal decision.
The Gov has NO business in their quest to destroy families, to be involved in any way.

Americans MUST realize we live in a culture of death.
From the time Abortion was legalize, we knew it would bring in the age of “Life Unworthy of Life”. And here we are at the beginning of the full process of the GOVERNMENT deciding WHO has the Right to Life.


16 posted on 12/30/2010 12:47:31 PM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Marty62

Could be that Big Brother will also decide your fate, shall we say, on your political affiliation or perhaps religion or perhaps whatever the government decides is undesirable. Sound familiar from your history books?


17 posted on 12/30/2010 12:59:24 PM PST by ExTexasRedhead
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To: Marty62

The insurance industry already has the equivalent of “death panels” - it’s their decision to not insure peoplee with chronic diseases, or to increase their rates past a point where anybody but the top 2% can pay the rates.

It’s the equivalent of a death sentence for people who aren’t elderly but just suffering from things like auto-immune diseases or heart conditions, or who have survived cancer.


18 posted on 12/30/2010 2:33:26 PM PST by worst-case scenario (Striving to reach the light)
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To: Robert357

“we don’t need no stinking death panels” — a friend was almost put to death without her consent or foreknowledge last week at a local county hospital — her son unwittingly signed a pink document (POLST) at the hospital, and whilst they were administering her morphine for pain (terminal cancer) during her hospital “stay,” someone she hadn’t before seen walked in, gave her a pill in a sealed packet and beat a hasty retreat after indicating she should open the packet and take the pill. her hands and fingernails immediately starting turning blue after she finished taking the pill, and she angrily got out of bed, summoned hospital staff and insisted they help her walk off the effects FOR THE NEXT 8 HOURS. next morning, the doc comes in and states to her, “Oh, you’re still with us”...she’s now at home recovering from her hospital “stay” and has been urged to consider a lawsuit with ACLJ/Jay Sekulow by a mutual friend...this isn’t assisted suicide or a death panel...it’s arguably something much more sinister and we were warned about it two months ago when a legal person helped us rewrite our personal papers, indicating that this is being stealthily slipped over from Bleumenthauer (?) (D) Oregon, which was recently wikileaked — but this has been going on for at least several months now in California and is being pushed at other states also under different names. look up CANH (nursing homes) and POLST online to see what it is — it is our understanding they can grab ANYONE (janitor, nurse) and have them sign the document or distribute the packet to the unwitting patient — heck, probably the person who walks the tablet in is also unwitting — who knows — there’s no ethics involved here: this is what the Terry Schiavo debacle set in motion, the “Culture of Death” — after decades of abortion — which the anti-abortionists ALWAYS warned us about — we have a government filled with Michael Vicks.


19 posted on 01/03/2011 7:19:29 PM PST by Orgiveme (Give me liberty orgiveme death!)
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To: Orgiveme

and please note this incident took place BEFORE the end of the year 2010...


20 posted on 01/03/2011 7:20:50 PM PST by Orgiveme (Give me liberty orgiveme death!)
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To: Orgiveme

from the CANHR website on problems with POLST:

http://www.canhr.org/newsroom/newdev_archive/2010/POLSTWhitePaper.html


21 posted on 01/03/2011 7:23:52 PM PST by Orgiveme (Give me liberty orgiveme death!)
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