NPR logo Sen. Grassley Says 'End Of Life' Provisions Dropped From Senate Bill

Sen. Grassley Says 'End Of Life' Provisions Dropped From Senate Bill

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."