Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — To hear backers of the government-run health care bill tell the story, pro-life advocates are making up wild-eyed claims about how the measure will push euthanasia. However, one leading bioethicist and a Washington Post Editorial Writer say the bill does give doctors financial incentive to push it.
At issue is Section 1233 of HR 3200, the government-run health care plan that the House will consider when it returns from its August recess.
The measure would pay physicians to give Medicare patients end-of-life counseling every five years or sooner if the patient has a terminal diagnosis.
While pro-life advocates say the section opens the door to physicians pushing euthanasia or withdrawal of lifesaving medical treatment, or even basic food and water, backers of the bill call the claims rubbish.
Charles Lane, an member of the editorial board of the liberal Washington Post newspaper, admits in a Saturday column that at least some of the concerns are well-founded.
“As I read it, Section 1233 is not totally innocuous,” Lane writes, adding that it “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.”
Please read the full article at House Health Care Bill Gives Doctors Financial Incentive to Push Euthanasia.
A Mayo Clinic Registered Nurse Perspective
So let’s look at the issue. First up, what is Section 1233? Susan Larson, a registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic, responds in the Post Bulletin saying, “In regard to Section 1233 of the proposed health care bill, medical caregivers are instructed to have discussions with seniors about their end-of-life care, at least every five years, or yearly if the medical condition of the patient makes significant changes or they develop a chronic illness.” This means, that doctors will talk to their patients about end-of-life issues such as end of life directives and living wills. That is, the patient is given the choice as to how there last days will be spent, before their last days are upon them and they are no longer in a state to answer for themselves.
If the patient wants all the medical treatment they can receive, then that’s what they get. However, if they don’t want to rack up bills for their relatives, they can also choose to forgo expensive treatments, that are less likely to be effective. For example, expensive surgeries that may expand a patient’s life by a few weeks. Some patients would want them anyway, some would not. With Section 1233, the patient is given these options and then able to make the choice that they want.
Please read the full article at Under Consideration: Section 1233 of the Health Care Bill
Is the Government Going to Euthanize your Grandmother? An Interview With Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother? What are we talking about here?
In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that’s because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia “durable power of attorney,” you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you’re unable to make those decisions.
This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it’s to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It’s just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.
How did this become a question of euthanasia?
I have no idea. I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.
You’re saying that this is not a question of government. It’s for individuals.
It empowers you to be able to make decisions at a difficult time rather than having the government making them for you.
The policy here as I understand it is that Medicare would cover a counseling session with your doctor on end-of-life options.
Correct. And it’s a voluntary deal.
Please read the full Interview at Ezra Klein – Is the Government Going to Euthanize your Grandmother? An Interview With Sen. Johnny Isakson..
Jill Stanek a Pro-Life Bloggers View
Enter Section 1233 of the health-care bill drafted in the Democratic-led House, which would pay doctors to give Medicare patients end-of-life counseling every 5 years – or sooner if the patient gets a terminal diagnosis….
[A]t least as I read it, Section 1233 is not totally innocuous….
Supporters protest that they’re just trying to facilitate choice – even if patients opt for expensive life-prolonging care. I think they protest too much: If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to “bend the curve” on health-care costs?…
Section 1233… lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive – money – to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.
Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic….
Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life’s end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it’s good to have a doctor’s perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it.
Indeed, the measure would have an interested party – the government – recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don’t have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.
Please Read Jill Stanek – Section 1233.
SEC. 123. HEALTH BENEFITS ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
(1) IN GENERAL- There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans.
(2) CHAIR- The Surgeon General shall be a member and the chair of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee.
(3) MEMBERSHIP- The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall be composed of the following members, in addition to the Surgeon General:
(A) 9 members who are not Federal employees or officers and who are appointed by the President.
(B) 9 members who are not Federal employees or officers and who are appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States in a manner similar to the manner in which the Comptroller General appoints members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission under section 1805(c) of the Social Security Act.
(C) Such even number of members (not to exceed 8) who are Federal employees and officers, as the President may appoint. Such initial appointments shall be made not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(4) TERMS- Each member of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall serve a 3-year term on the Committee, except that the terms of the initial members shall be adjusted in order to provide for a staggered term of appointment for all such members.
(5) PARTICIPATION- The membership of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall at least reflect providers, consumer representatives, employers, labor, health insurance issuers, experts in health care financing and delivery, experts in racial and ethnic disparities, experts in care for those with disabilities, representatives of relevant governmental agencies. and at least one practicing physician or other health professional and an expert on children’s health and shall represent a balance among various sectors of the health care system so that no single sector unduly influences the recommendations of such Committee.
(1) RECOMMENDATIONS ON BENEFIT STANDARDS- The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this subtitle referred to as the ‘Secretary’) benefit standards (as defined in paragraph (4)), and periodic updates to such standards. In developing such recommendations, the Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities.
(2) DEADLINE- The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend initial benefit standards to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(3) PUBLIC INPUT- The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall allow for public input as a part of developing recommendations under this subsection.
(4) BENEFIT STANDARDS DEFINED- In this subtitle, the term ‘benefit standards’ means standards respecting–
(A) the essential benefits package described in section 122, including categories of covered treatments, items and services within benefit classes, and cost-sharing; and
(B) the cost-sharing levels for enhanced plans and premium plans (as provided under section 203(c)) consistent with paragraph (5).
(5) LEVELS OF COST-SHARING FOR ENHANCED AND PREMIUM PLANS-
(A) ENHANCED PLAN- The level of cost-sharing for enhanced plans shall be designed so that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 85 percent of the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in section 122(c)(3)(B).
(B) PREMIUM PLAN- The level of cost-sharing for premium plans shall be designed so that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 95 percent of the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in section 122(c)(3)(B).
(1) PER DIEM PAY- Each member of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, and shall otherwise serve without additional pay.
(2) MEMBERS NOT TREATED AS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES- Members of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall not be considered employees of the Federal government solely by reason of any service on the Committee.
(3) APPLICATION OF FACA- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), other than section 14, shall apply to the Health Benefits Advisory Committee.
(d) Publication- The Secretary shall provide for publication in the Federal Register and the posting on the Internet website of the Department of Health and Human Services of all recommendations made by the Health Benefits Advisory Committee under this section.
The rest of the bill is online HERE