In a controversial new move, the Obama Administration has issued a new regulation to encourage doctors to advise patients on end-of-life planning. The Department of Health and Human Services’ new regulation directs Medicare to pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
It’s a dicey move for the Obama administration considering the hysteria of anti-Obamacare critics who declared that healthcare reform would lead to the establishment of “death panels” who would decide who received life-saving healthcare and who would not. Although healthcare reform itself does not include the new end-of-life planning benefit, annual physical examinations or wellness visits are covered by Medicareunder healthcare reform. Now, under the new HHS regulation, end-of-life planning will now be covered by Medicare as part of this yearly visit.
Any celebration by Democrats in the wake of the regulation has been decidedly muted. A spokesperson for Medicare has described the end-of-life planning benefit “may be included as an element in both the first and subsequent annual wellness visits, providing an opportunity to periodically review and update the beneficiary’s wishes and preferences for his or her medical care,” but it’s looking like Democrats will be handling the benefit gingerly so as not to be backed into the idea that they are encouraging euthanasia or “pulling the plug on grandma” instead of giving older patients a chance to make their wishes known before they lose their decision-making capacity.
Will you be taking advantage of the “end-of-life planning” benefit” Tell us about it!
- Arizona Budget Cuts Could Deny Life-Saving Transplants; Will Medicaid Cuts Lead to “Death Panels”?
- Will Medicare Cover You If You Retire Overseas?
- Did Healthcare Reform Save Medicare? President Obama Addresses Seniors and the Rest of the Nation
- Healthcare Reform: Obama Administration Announces Medicare Advantage Premiums Will Go Down
- Medicare Part D “Doughnut Hole” Checks to Arrive Soon; Beware of Scams