Say goodbye to grandma and grandpa.
U.S. President Barack Obama is reenacting the controversial end-of-life Medicare provision contained in the original ObamaCare bill which sent shockwaves through the elderly community last year.
Recall that Obama used his own dying grandmother to illustrate the need to cut waste in Medicare spending by denying expensive medical procedures to the elderly.
The provision, which called for ‘death panels’ to recommend cheaper end-of-life alternatives to doctors and their elderly patients, caused such an uproar in 2009 that Democrats removed it from the final healthcare bill.
Well, it’s back.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
(Please read that last paragraph again.)
After learning of the administration’s decision, Democrat Earl Blumenauer, the author of the original end-of-life proposal within ObamaCare, urged supporters not to crow about it.
In an email he sent out to his supporters in Congress, Blumenauer wrote: “While we are very happy with the result, we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren’t out of the woods yet,”
The e-mail continued: “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”
Naturally, advocates for the elderly are appalled — and rightfully so.
“The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” said Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”
You’re probably asking what’s the difference between this new law and advanced directives that are already discussed with patients who are admitted to hospitals?
Well, hospital staff aren’t being paid incentives to discuss advanced directives with you. But the Obama administration wants to pay outpatient doctors to “aggressively” discuss advanced directives with you and your Medicare-eligible parents/ grandparents during regular doctor office visits.
And you know what happens when greedy doctors smell money: say goodbye to grandma and grandpa.