Saturday, August 15, 2009

Senate removes death panel provision that wasn't there

President Obama says "death panels" were not in the legislation. Senators now say they have been removed. But the same provision remains in the three bills in the House Senate committee scraps healthcare provision that gave rise to 'death panel' claims --
Reporting from Washington - A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing. The Senate Finance Committee is taking the idea of advance care planning consultations with doctors off the table as it works to craft its version of healthcare legislation, a Democratic committee aide said Thursday. Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the committee, said the panel dropped the idea because it could be "misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly." For Democrats, the decision was an apparent acknowledgment that the provision had become a lightning rod for critics of a proposed overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. Democratic lawmakers and President Obama are trying to extend health insurance to more people, rein in health costs and make other changes. Recently, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speculated that Obama and other Democrats wanted to set up "death panels" to decide who gets medical services and who does not. In reality, the provision was designed to allow Medicare to pay doctors who counsel patients about planning for end-of-life decisions. The consultations would be voluntary and would provide information about living wills, healthcare proxies, pain medication and hospice.
"Voluntary" as in at every decision point every medical person who sees you reminds you that you have the death option.

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