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Soon your doctor will be required to tell you how much your end-of-life care is going to cost. But please don't call it a "death panel."
Advocates for better end-of-life care expect Medicare to soon announce that it will start paying physicians for having advanced-care planning conversations with patients — reviving the widely misunderstood provision that gave rise to "death panel" fears and nearly sank the Affordable Care Act.
Spin, Politico, spin!
If it looks like a death panel, and it acts like a death panel, well, I'm gonna call it a death panel.
The new policy could be part of an annual Medicare physician payment rule, which could be released any day.
With an aging population and growing public awareness that high-tech interventions are often futile at the end of life, doctors have encouraged private insurers to cover advanced-care conversations. Some state Medicaid programs already do so.
Sorry Grandma, you're not worth it.
Oh, wait, I'm being "hysterical" again.
Such a policy shift would come six years after former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's wild charges of "death panels" triggered near-hysteria that bureaucrats might begin to withhold medical care from older Americans. Polls showed that the charges stuck, and the ongoing uproar in the summer of 2009 almost derailed Obamacare. The same fears have shadowed the law ever since.
Gee, I wonder why?
Oh, right, because cutting Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement rates is the one thing Obamacare has been good at doing. Except that doctors voted with their feet, leaving an acute shortage of physicians willing to play by Obamacare's rules.
So what do you do when there aren't enough doctors to go around?
You ration care!
How do you ration care?
By making old people feel guilty for "wasting" the doctor's time. They're just going to die anyway, why prolong their agony?
You've heard the push for assisted suicide — the humane choice! — to supposedly enable suffering patients to die with "dignity."
Now imagine how that'll play out in conjunction with discussions of costs for end-of-life care. Grandma has a duty to die, before she wastes precious resources that could be used for more important stuff like sex-change operations and free birth control.
Sure sounds like a death panel to me.
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