By Mark Memmott
The Senate Finance Committee has "dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely" from its version of health care overhaul legislation, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, announced today.
Those would be the provisions proposed in the House that would allow for Medicare to pay the costs of patients' consultations with doctors and other professionals about end-of-life issues. Opponents of health care reform -- including, very notably, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin -- have tried to make the case that the provision would create "death panels." In fact, that's not what the proposal would do.
Grassley says in this statement that:
"The bill passed by the House committees is so poorly cobbled together that it will have all kinds of unintended consequences. ... On the end-of-life issue, there's a big difference between a simple educational campaign, as some advocates want, and the way the House committee-passed bill pays physicians to advise patients about end of life care and rates physician quality of care based on the creation of and adherence to orders for end-of-life care, while at the same time creating a government-run program that is likely to lead to the rationing of care for everyone. ...
"We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."