Writings and observations

Death panels again?

Question – Might it be possible now, a year later, to have a sane discussion about end of life care and possible help in planning for it, without degenerating into “death panels” lunacy?

That stuff was actually believed by a lot of people. At a congressional town hall meeting last year, we stood next in line next to an elderly couple genuinely terrified to the point of tears that one of them might be swept up by a federal death squad that had ruled them unworthy of living. Exposed to some actual legitimate information over the next couple of hours, they seemed to feel a lot better by the time they left – no thanks to the lying politicians and cable news geeks who so frightened them in the first place.

In any event, Representative Earl Blumenauer is trying again.

Blumenauer reports the “introduction of bipartisan legislation that would provide a Medicare and Medicaid benefit for voluntary patient-physician consultations regarding advance care planning. These consultations will ensure that individuals’ values and goals for care are identified, understood, and respected.” Yes, it was bipartisan, before demonization of the proposal became a widespread Republican talking point.

And, yes, we’ll answer that opening question right here. At the Willamette Week report on the measure, scroll down into the comment section – got yer death panel discussion right here!

Share on Facebook