Thursday, October 29, 2009

After All That Noise: End of Life Counseling in Health Care Bill.

The AP is reporting that end of life care, ballyhooed as "death panels," forced euthanasia, and encouraging our elder and terminal to die, is in the current health care bill as announced today.

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.

For years, federal laws and policies have encouraged Americans to think ahead about end-of-life decisions, and make their wishes known in advance through living wills and similar legal documents. But when House Democrats proposed this summer to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, it touched off a wave of suspicion and anger.

Prominent Republicans singled it out as a glaring example of government overreach.

Nice to know that cooler heads prevailed - and glaringly obvious that Republicans, who in the past have encouraged participation in end of life discussions, were only playing up the noise and lies for their own purposes this summer.

As I've written for AlterNet and elsewhere on this blog, giving elders and terminal patients choice in how they die saves them from the pain of unnecessary and ineffective treatments, helps their family to better sustain the grief of death, saves the families and the country money, and saves the dying from spending their last days in a hospital.

Now if only the Dems would get some balls regarding abortion....

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