Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HEALTHCARE - Doctor's Advice and Your Consent

"Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir" by ROBERT PEAR, New York Times 12/25/2010


When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

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.

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.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

This is a very personal issue. My sister, who died in 2007 of cancer, made a "ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE" with the advice of her doctors (note the plural), and consulting her husband and other family members. This was done at a meeting that included all her doctors and family members. Fortunately Kaiser HMO includes this in their plan so there is no cost issue.

I have my own "ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE" in my health record.

An "ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE" allows YOU to decide on how YOU want to die when you have a terminal illness, with the advice of your doctors and family members.

As usual, the Republican scum used the term "death panels" to scare people into thinking that the proposal had to do with government intervention, when in truth it was ONLY about paying YOUR doctors for the consultation if you don't have a healthcare plan that includes it.

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