Care at the end

Complementary goals
After rumors circulated that President Obama’s health-care reform would institute “death panels” for the elderly, Congress quickly abandoned any effort to address end-of-life issues in health-care legislation. It didn’t matter that the rumor-mongering reflected a willful distortion of section 1233 of a House bill that would have let Medicare reimburse physicians for helping patients develop a plan for end-of-life care.

The distortion was clearly motivated by the desire to derail health-care reform at all costs. Those with doubts on that score should consider that, as Amy Sullivan at Time magazine pointed out, in 2003 Republicans passed a prescription drug bill that endorsed end-of-life counseling in virtually the same terms that they now claim will lead to “pulling the plug on Grandma” (to quote Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa).

 

This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $4.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.