Of course this had to be in the Health Care Bill. This one is in the House version, so we can’t pin this on the Dodd plan. But once again Betsy McCaughey is on top of the health care legislation.
One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.”
This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care. Do we really want government involved in such deeply personal issues?
Oh but that’s not all. It seems the Senate Bill has chosen to help pay for Health Care in part by cutting Medicare and Medicaid payments. The CBO projects only a small portion of that will be through eliminating waste, the rest from benefits.
But while we cut the one benefit all seniors count on … we will be providing plenty of cash for a whole new government bureaucracy … not to mention plenty of dough for illegal immigrants.
Shockingly, only a portion of the money accumulated from slashing senior benefits and raising taxes goes to pay for covering the uninsured. The Senate bill allocates huge sums to “community transformation grants,” home visits for expectant families, services for migrant workers — and the creation of dozens of new government councils, programs and advisory boards slipped into the last 500 pages.
So here’s how this works. Let the old people go, shovel the money that might go to ensure them a longer healthier life and give it to illegals and bureaucrats and call it better health care for all. Read the whole thing, then make sure you call your representative. It’s not too late, although you can assure them by November 2010, it will be for them.
Perhaps now would be a good time to listen to his promises one more time … “if you want to keep your doctor … yada, yada, yada”. The relevant Medicare section comes at 2:40 and the “You can keep your Insurance Company” comes around 3:50.
And don’t forget to check out Hot Air’s analysis. They have the young President’s lingo down cold.
Update (SOS): Yes the language exists but the lecture … errr … counseling, won’t be delivered by a government bureaucrat, although that might happen down the road. A quick check of the bill indicates the government will ask Grandma’s physician or physician’s assistant to deliver the government mandated message. So it’ll be a Doc or Doc substitute who will counsel the old folks. The question then becomes … who’s gunna check on the Doc to make sure the “proper” message was delivered? And if it isn’t, is it a crime?
Update 2 (JV): Glenn Reynolds links to a blog that looks at the offending section which points out that the House Bill does not make the counseling mandatory, only that the Feds will pay for such counseling.
In other words, Section 1233 is creating a new type of “treatment” that will be paid for by Medicare. It will only pay for one such consultation every five years unless the patient’s health status changes, in which case Medicare will pay for a consultation when that change occurs. This is not a mandate; this is a new entitlement. It may not be an entitlement everyone likes but it is still something extra for those on Medicare.
It’s pretty well done from what I can tell although (here we go again) I have not checked all the sections myself. Still the blogger asks the relevant question … why is it in there and does it not create a slippery slope for the future?
Apart from these financial scams, I do see that the advance care planning consultations can become the first step in a slippery slope and take seriously the concerns of those who fear they could lead to government-encouraged suicide and euthanasia. However, none of the very real problems with HR3200 or with Section 1233 make an untruth true.
It’s distressing how much the claim that Section 1233 compels end of life counseling reminds me of the claim that Sarah Palin quit as mayor of Wasilla without finishing out her term. The story about Palin is a deliberate lie, of course, while the story about Section 1233 seems to have started as an honest error, but the two stories share many of the same characteristics.
Read it for yourself.