Reid Bill Provisions Threaten Rationing

Folks, there’s much more to be concerned about with the current Senate health care reform bill than just federal abortion coverage. National Right to Life has an analysis:

  • Senior citizens’ ability to use their own money, if they choose, to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare could be severely limited.

    State commissioners of the new health insurance exchanges created by the bill would be given power to deny people who are trying to obtain policies in the exchange the option of choosing health plans less likely to deny treatment, by limiting what they would be allowed to pay for such policies.

    In response to public reaction over the summer denouncing efforts to encourage patients to agree to reject treatment as a way of saving costs, the Senate avoided including the “advance care planning” provisions still in the House bill. Instead, it has sought to achieve a similar result under a different name, Under the title “Shared Decisionmaking,” the bill funds and promotes “patient decision aids” to “help” patients make treatment decisions.

    A Medicare Advisory Board is established to force Medicare payments below the rate of medical inflation.

  • Read more

    Even more details and documentation can be found here: http://www.nrlc.org/healthcarerationing/reidsubstitute.html and at the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics blog

    Debate Over Department of Veterans Affairs’ “Death Book”

    National Right to Life’s Dave Andrusko comments on the USDVA’s “Death Book” we told you about last week that was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article by Jim Towey:

    Although Jim Towey’s column has stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest, my hunch is that not enough people are aware of the growing controversy over what is afoot at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to Towey (the one-time director of President George W. Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives, among other things), the VA has brought back to life a death initiative into which Bush tried to drive a stake back in 2007. All this, needless to say, is being pooh-poohed by the Obama Administration.

    Towey’s Wall Street Journal piece (available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204683204574358590107981718.html) charges that a 52-page “hurry up and die” workbook/primer titled Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decisions “presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political ‘push poll.’ For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be ‘not worth living.'”

    *snip*

    Since the document is available online (complete with a quickly added disclaimer once Towey’s op-ed appeared), I read it for myself to see if Towey’s allegations held water. And, unfortunately, they most assuredly do.

    Read more: Part I and Part II

    The Death Book for Veterans

    USDVAExcellent editorial in the Wall Street Journal about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated 52-page end-of-life planning document:

    If President Obama wants to better understand why America’s discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.

    Last year, bureaucrats at the VA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, “Your Life, Your Choices.” It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA’s preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated “Your Life, Your Choices.”

    Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

    “Your Life, Your Choices” presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political “push poll.” For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

    The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to “shake the blues.” There is a section which provocatively asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

    When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

    Read more.

    And they wonder why we are concerned about the possibility of ‘death panels’ being part of the national health care reform! Here is another article from NewsBusters.

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