Say the government pays your doctor to advise you on end-of-life care. This government also provides your health insurance, so it has a vested interest in your care not costing them much. In fact, it has repeatedly said taking expensive measures to preserve life are a waste of money. How confident are you that your doctor’s advice will be sound and impartial?

You may not have a life-threatening disease or be approaching the end of your life, but you probably know someone who is. Put your parent or grandparent in that situation. If they were in the patient’s seat, wouldn’t you advise them to take a government-subsidized doctor’s advice with a grain of salt?

Four years ago, Obamacare proposed to cover “end-of-life planning.” Sarah Palin spoke out against the potential “death panels,” and the provision was not included in the legislation. The Obama administration tried to incorporate similar measures into Medicare in 2010, but outspoken criticism kept it from going to print a second time. Now, government subsidies for “end-of-life conversations” are getting more support, and it looks like Medicare is preparing to reimburse doctors for such consultations.

The American Medical Association, which creates billing codes used by doctors, hospitals, and insurers, has recommended that Medicare add end-of-life conversations to their coverage. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services haven’t yet said whether they will implement this recommendation, but they usually do what the AMA suggests.

Underneath a noble-sounding desire for patients to make well-informed decisions is a serious overreach of the federal government, threatening not just our freedoms or livelihoods, but our very lives.

The “death panel” Palin spoke of already exists in the form of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This new coverage would add one-on-one pressure from one’s own doctor to refuse costly treatments that could prolong life. It’s a simple principle: when doctors are getting reimbursed by the state for their advice, they will naturally be inclined to advise a course of action that will cost less for the government to cover. Who wants their doctor offering a consultation on end-of-life decisions with something other than the patient’s best interests at heart?

The New York Times reports that some private insurance companies have already been covering “advanced care planning.” It is good for ailing or aging Americans to receive information about their care options as they approach the end of life. But having such conversations funded by the government is another question altogether. As Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said, “If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.”

Steve Rattner, a former advisor to President Obama, said frankly, “We need death panels.” From a purely financial point of view, rationing of healthcare is necessary for Medicare to be financially sustainable – never mind human rights and dignity. The place to save money, he says, is by “reducing the cost of treating people in the last year of life.”

Sadly, many doctors agree with him and say that death should be hastened “for those deemed to have a ‘poor quality of life.’” Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, said this attitude combined with cost-saving motivations will pressure patients “to reject life-preserving treatment” if Medicare begins covering advance care planning.

The longer Obamacare is in effect, the more we will see the scary implications of government controlling the fields of healthcare and medicine. No doubt you’ve heard personal stories of people wading through unbelievable hassle to get treatment approved or even being denied coverage for important procedures. (Sen. Tom Coburn, who battles cancer, revealed that his health insurance under Obamacare stopped covering his oncologist.)

This is what happens when a government bureaucracy gets to decide what healthcare options are best – not for you, but for their bottom line.

Life is the first inalienable right listed in the Declaration of Independence. Government is instituted to secure and protect this right, not regulate it and make it harder to preserve.

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    ebysan

    Sarah Palin was mocked by the Dems. when she used the term
    “Death Panels”

    Now the Truth comes to the surface!!

    Reply

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