Melissa (dreadfulpenny81) wrote in ontd_political,

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End-of-life counseling through Medicare begins Jan. 1

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.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

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People don't seem to understand that end-of-life care includes living wills (or advanced directives) and DNR orders. The problem is that the debate on end-of-life counseling was when Sarah Palin poisoned the waters with her incompetence. This is simply a coding issue that allows doctors to be reimbursed by Medicare for the service of going over the patient's medical options with them and their family. I personally feel this should be covered by not only Medicare but Medicaid and private insurance and all states should recognize living wills/advanced directives or else we'd end up with another situation like that of Terri Schiavo.
Tags: health care, medicare
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