Sunday, August 9, 2009

President Obama's Health Care Reform bill Encourages "end-of- life" Counseling for Seniors

'End-of-Life' Counseling Intensifies Health Care Debate - Political News -

A provision in President Obama's health care reform bill encourages "end-of- life" counseling for seniors -- sparking euthanasia fears among some of the legislation's critics and leading others to believe that the White House is looking to save money by pressuring insurers to provide less coverage to seniors.

The provision, tucked deep within the House bill, would provide Medicare coverage for an end-of-life consultation every five years, and more frequent sessions if a person is suffering a life-threatening disease.
Health providers would be required to explain to seniors the end-of-life services available, including "palliative care and hospice."
"This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich. said in a statement last month.

Senior Citizen golden years.

What could "end-of-life" counseling really mean to those over 65?

From: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide?, New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. The last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable." By dying one month earlier by means of physician-assisted suicide, might save his or her family $10,000 in health care costs, having already spent as much as $20,000 in that year."

Obama encourages people to create living wills because researchers, who interviewed 603 advanced-cancer patients about whether they had end-of-life conversations with their physicians, found that
patients who did had an estimated average of $1,876 in health care expenses during their final week of life, compared with $2,917 for those who didn't. Patients also associated higher costs with a worse
quality of death during their final week and typically did not live longer if they received intensive care.
"Policies that promote increased communication, such as incentives for end-of-life conversations, may be cost-effective ways to both improve care and reduce some of the rising health care expenditures."
White House aides acknowledge it's a sensitive issue.
The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company, Oregon State Health Plan, refused to pay.
What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.
"What is six months of life worth?" he asked in a report in the Eugene Register-Guard. "To me it's worth a lot. This is my life they're playing with."  Remember the government wants to play with your life.

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Oregon Health Plan Denies Chemo Medicine- Assisted Suicide Offered Instead

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