Medicare to Pay for End-of-Life Planning

By Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

I have no objections to paying doctors to help people plan the kind treatment they would want if incapacitated. And now, Medicare is paying for it.

From the New York Times story:

Under the rule, officials said, Medicare would pay $86 for the first 30 minutes of “advance care planning” in a doctor’s office and $80 for the service in a hospital. In both settings, they said, Medicare will pay up to $75 for 30 additional minutes of consultation. These standard amounts can be adjusted for differences in costs in different parts of the country.

While this isn’t a “death panel,” it is important that the conversations don’t push people into refusing care–which some fear could happen (not unreasonably) given the cost-saving drive of the Obamacare technocracy.

Politicians say the focus should be on making sure patient decisions are honored.

The new rule fulfills the vision of Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, who said, “The decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create a benefit for advance care planning is a turning point in end-of-life care.” Now, he said, the challenge is to make sure that the wishes of patients and family members are “understood, respected and enforced.”

There is no real problem having your wishes followed if the choice is to refuse care and die.

But these days “choice” can be a one-way street.

Bioethicists are trying to give doctors and hospital committees veto power over patient advance decisions to accept life-sustaining treatment under what is known as “medical futility.”

I just wish “the politicians” would push back as hard against the “no right to live” agenda as they do for the “right to die.”

Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.