I was reading in the New York Times today an article entitled “Obama to Enact End-of-Life Plan that Caused Stir.” Do you remember when ObamaCare (rather, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was being debated, and there was this big kerfuffle about “death panels”? The reason that this particular provision was being shouted down was that it was the largest example of government having control over a person’s healthcare. The provision was stripped from the final bill.
It seems now that the Obama administration is now implementing that provision (at the urging of Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon (how cool is that name? By the way… he’s also known for his bow ties) by regulation. End-of-life planning will be covered as a Medicare wellness benefit beginning on January 1. Doctors will be paid by Medicare to provide the benefit at wellness visits each year.
After learning about the decision by the administration, Rep. Blumenauer’s office sent an email to staff urging them not to talk about it:
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.
Here’s a discussion of the new regulation on Fox News, including a clip from President Obama in August 2009:
Here’s a video on the new regulation on “Parker/Spitzer” on CNN:
Is this regulation a big deal? Or are we just trying to help our seniors plan for the end of their life?