I read this editorial in the Union Leader entitled "No death panels here: Just paid death 'chats' instead. "
( The brief editorial follows below).
Invoking the " death panel" misnomer is so misleading and so far from the truth. It wasn't true when Sarah Palin said it in 2008, and it is not true now. Calling them " death conversations" is almost as misguided.
Advanced care discussions have been happening for many years and is increasingly important as people are living longer and more conditions have viable interventions. And it isn't just for the elderly or seriously ill. Health care is after all a birth to death continuum. Often times the discussion is about treatment options and what type of interventions are available. Do you want to be kept alive with artificial breathing machines and a feeding tube for example? Many times the treatment options are worse than the disease and without benefit of Advanced Directives, providers are obligated to provide a barrage of treatments, surgeries and the most advanced level of care available.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization the results of a recent survey showed only 26.3 percent of respondents had an advance directive. Talking with patients about their goals and preferences is not a "death chat" or a "death panel", it is a necessary part of the health care process. Editorials such as this one in the Union Leader does a disservice to its readers, as it may lead to some not having this important advanced care discussion with their provider and thus not having their true wishes for care legally documented.
The " tripe" is not the proposed payments, it is the content of the editorial. An irresponsible distortion of the facts that benefits no one.
"It is not exactly the “death panels” that critics of Obamacare warned could be set up to ration care to the old and sick. But the Obama administration proposed “rule” that
came out last week is just as Orwellian.
The government wants to pay health-care providers to talk with Medicare recipients about end-of-life care. This would “encourage” doctors and other providers to begin these chats. This will save costs and improve patient care, so goes the theory.
What a bunch of tripe.
Doctors worth their oath have never needed encouragement to have meaningful conversations with their patients. But today’s factory-like atmosphere, brought on in part by the government, gives little time for the traditional doctor-patient relationship. Paying doctors to talk death is more likely to increase still more the cost of health care, the presumed savings from pulling the plug notwithstanding.
Shame on the American Medical Association for having at the ready two billing codes intended to be used for these paid death conversations.
We would say shame, too, on the Obama administration for this. But it has no shame. When the Affordable Care Act passed, it was after a provision to pay for these chats was deleted from the bill. Now, in typical Obama fashion, the law is to be ignored in favor of a “rule.”
Sort of the overall story of this bunch. "