WASHINGTON — 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.
The good news for Barack Obama: the Associated Press reports today that Obama’s deficit commission wants to keep most of ObamaCare in place. The bad news: they pronounce it unsustainable – unless it includes hard caps on c0verage and decisions made to stop care. Doesn’t this sound a little familiar?
For the first time, the government would set – and enforce – an overall budget for Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs that cover more than 100 million people, from Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes to premature babies in hospital intensive care.
Palin attracted wide attention by denouncing nonexistent “death panels” in Obama’s overhaul, but a fixed budget as the commissioners propose could lead to denial of payment for medical care in some circumstances.
Overall, the nation will spend about $2.6 trillion this year on health care, and there’s evidence that a significant share of that is for procedures and tests that are of little benefit to patients. There seems to be room enough to cut, but no consensus on what should go.
Darth Vader is out of the closet…and we have Sarah Palin to thank.