Sunday, December 26, 2010

Administration Revives End-Of-Life Consultations Distorted By Palin As "Death Panels"

In an interview, Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia (left), co-sponsor of the 2007 Medicare End-of-Life Planning Act, said that equating bills like his with euthanasia was "nuts." Research published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the British Medical Journal supports end-of life medical consultations, as does the AARP. Regardless, Sarah Palin did what she could to scare people about "death panels." Fortunately, the Obama administration is reviving Medicare coverage of voluntary consultations with medical professionals to help patients decide on their end-of-life care:

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

...In a recent study of 3,700 people near the end of life, Dr. Maria J. Silveira of the University of Michigan found that many had “treatable, life-threatening conditions” but lacked decision-making capacity in their final days. With the new Medicare coverage, doctors can learn a patient’s wishes before a crisis occurs.

Sounds sensible, humane and empowering. Regardless, expect The Misinformer to start Tweeting about pulling the plug on grandma.

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