On July 16, Betsy McCaughey alleged on the Fred Thompson radio program that Medicare recipients would be required under the House health reform bill to receive end-of-life counseling every five years. That set off a firestorm that roiled the debate for two weeks. It was not quelled until the president and his allies responded on July 29, explaining that the counseling was not mandatory, and moreover, the section in question merely allowed service providers to be paid to counsel about end of life options.
Still, the bill was almost indecipherable, admitted by Rep. John Conyers who stated publicly that he wouldn’t be reading the bill because it would require two lawyers just to figure it all out! The remedy to the confusion was obvious and necessary: Just put in a provision into the controversial section stating that the counseling is fully voluntary.
Thereafter, the last House committee voted the bill to the floor. And guess what? Despite all the controversy, despite the charges by the president and others that opponents were intentionally misleading the public about this provision, the committee failed to amend the bill to clarify that the counseling was to be wholly voluntary.
That’s a strange tactic if the bill’s suppoters want to quell paranoia. More at Secondhand Smoke.