We have been told repeatedly by Obamacare supporters and media alike, that worries about seniors being pushed by end of life counseling into voluntary rationing are all so much fear mongering. Indeed, all it does (despite Compassion and Choices being at the table helping to create the provision), we have been lectured, is pay doctors and nurses to help people on Medicare with advance directives and the like.
Yet, the easy answer to the confusion—to amend the bill to mandate that the sessions be non directed and purely voluntary for both patient and provider—has not been pursued. Now, rather than fix the darn thing to make the point clear, the Secretary of HHS says the provision will be dropped. From the story:
Sebelius said the end-of-life proposal was likely to be dropped from the final bill. “We wanted to make sure doctors were reimbursed for that very important consultation if family members chose to make it, and instead it’s been turned into this scare tactic and probably will be off the table,” she said.
This is exceedingly strange. If the counseling is as important as its supporters have been saying, why not just ensure voluntariness? Why, instead, would the administration rather kill the counseling provision altogether? Maybe they plan to put the provision in by regulation instead of legislation? Inquiring minds want to know.
None of this makes any sense if Section 1233 was truly benign. Maybe the “alarmists” were onto something after all.