Obama Reintroduces Death Panels into Healthcare

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Remember the Left and the MSM making fun of the TEA Parties and Sarah Palin for raising the alarm that Obamacare would include euthanasia or “death panels” — triage “end of life” counseling to discourage the elderly and the very sick from partaking in costly medical procedures? Reacting to those warnings, Obama promised that his healthcare reform plan would not “pull the plug on grandma.”
Contrary to the derisions heaped on Palin and the TEA parties, their warnings were neither paranoic nor fanciful. In November 2009, the House actually passed a measure known as Section 1233 of the healthcare reform bill which would allow Medicare to pay for consultations about “advance care planning” every five years. But Section 1233 was not included in the final Obamacare legislation.
Now, as reported by NewsMax, the New York Times tells us that the Obama administration is doing exactly that — “pulling the plug on grandma.”
In Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan that Caused Stir,” Robert Pear of the NY Times reports on December 25 that on December 3, the Obama administration issued a new Medicare regulation detailing “voluntary advance care planning” that is to be included during patients’ annual checkups. The regulation aimed at the aged “may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.”
The new provision, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries “deal with the complex decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.” In contrast to the defunct Section 1223 that would have these “advance care planning” consultations every 5 years, the new Medicare rule allows annual discussions as part of a patient’s “wellness” visits.
Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree, a pro-life Christian educational ministry, told the Times that she is concerned that such end-of-life counseling would encourage patients to forgo or curtail care, thus hastening death. “The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” Wickham said. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”
The rule was issued by Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the Times. He is a longtime advocate for rationing medical procedures for the elderly, arguing that rationing will have to be implemented eventually, stating, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
Before Obama tapped Berwick for the Medicare post, Berwick had long applauded Britain’s National Health Service, which uses an algorithm to determine whether the aged are worthy of additional expenditures for medical care and advanced treatments.
Berwick has argued Seniors appear to be a major target for precious resources under the Obamacare plan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare cuts nearly $500 billion in Medicare benefits to seniors as the federal government adds 30 million uninsured Americans to private and public healthcare systems.
The cost of caring for the elderly has not been lost on Berwick. “The chronically ill and those towards the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here . . . there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place,” he said.
Berwick is not alone in arguing for triage death panels.
Last month, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman told ABC News that rising Medicare costs could be dealt with only by “death panels and sales taxes.” He added: “Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s going to pay for. And at least for starters, it’s going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all. In other words, it should have endorsed the [death] panel that was part of the healthcare reform.”
In effect, what has happened is this:

Bypassing Congress and in contravention of the popular will, Obama has reinserted “death panels” into America’s health care system via an administrative rule added to Medicare.

Why do we even other to have a Congress to represent the people and pass laws when Obama the President can just rule by fiat?
Worse still, Obama did this nearly a month ago, but America’s news media only just found out.
H/t beloved fellow May.

UPDATE (Jan. 7, 2011):

After the New York Times published its article on the Obama administration’s sneaky re-introduction of “death panels,” the news hit the blogosphere and conservative talk radio. Four days after the new policy took effect, on January 4, 2011, the Times reports that the Obama administration abruptly reversed course: All references to “end-of-life planning” as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new Obamacare law will be deleted from Medicare regulations!
Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.

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0 responses to “Obama Reintroduces Death Panels into Healthcare

  1. How did this president gain so much power? What happened to checks and balances? Congress has clearly become superfluous, so why are they drawing a paycheck and benefits? How can the government possibly solve the country’s problems when they can’t control themselves? What do you do with a spoiled brat when a spanking doesn’t make any difference?

  2. Doctors in this country have NO time to provide annual “voluntary counseling” during annual checkups for Medicare patients. They are already extremely overworked and totally bogged down by government paperwork. My husband rarely gets home before seven to eight in the evening as it is!

    • Bless you and your husband, Doc’s Wife.
      I thought such documents were called a living will? And the vast majority of people don’t want to discuss it. Once again, legislation for things already available, for anyone who wants to use it.

  3. We’d better all hope the repubs have the stones to rip this hideous thing out by the root, gut it, and nuke every last vestige of it beginning January 06th.
    In fact they need to do that to everything Obama has done since day one, as nothing he has done has in any way been good for America.
    Not one thing.

  4. you are right Dave,unseat this fraudulent POS and reverse everything they have gotten their grimy selves into. We are the laughing stock of the other nations allowing this fraud to continue. Once we take the house I am going to be a very busy individual.

  5. My initial reaction to this went right to the same ol’, same ol’question with everything I read (and I read abundantly) — define “American”, and then define “uninsured American” first! and then I’ll know what we’re REALLY talking about. Let me state unequivocably right up front I am opposed to ALL immigrants in MY U.S. of A. who are here illegally and are not already somewhere in the citizenship processing LEGAL journey, including any chain migration potential candidates. I don’t won’t one red half-cent to go for their maintenance, in fact, I want them all processed immediately back into Mexico and from whence they came! The true American taxpayer, including seniors who have worked their entire lives (like me) and who’ve supported the American economy and paid into Social Security, to NOT have to support these folks and to instead receive even a fraction of the benefits these illegals are already receiving at taxpayer expense. A recent hospital visit for lymphedema resulting from drastic lymph node removal during breast cancer surgery found me sharing a room with (I’d bet my life’s savings on it) an illegal who’s entire family (approximately)shoved into our room every day slamming my rolling dinner table, IV, etc. into my hospital bed, yacked at top volume in Spanish only, the (Hispanic) nurse gave her first-rate treatment but I had to not only get up repeatedly after ringing my buzzer and go to the nurses’ station to air my concerns for me but also for her, who constantly moaned and whined. No doubt ALL of her care ( I was discharged before her
    as she was still trying to pass a kidney stone when I hitailed it out for deprivation of sleep), but unbeknownst to me, I was assigned by Christus Santa Rosa Hospital a non-Medicare-Participating physician, who promptly sent me a bill (nearly a thousand dollars) for his hospital physician’s visits, then promptly sent me to collection when I questioned him and the hospital and didn’t immediately pay him off. Then, last Monday I had left torn rotator cuff surgery. That is a story for another day, but demonstrates without doubt that even our most trusted surgeons don’t quite know how to proceed in this environment to not only protect themselves but their patient(s) who’s care has been entrusted to them. I can say from my journey through Stage III/IV cancer treatment that “Do no harm” has long since been replaced by “Protect Thyself (and hope no harm is done in the process). All hopes and bets are truly and for the most part OFF with Obamacare. This doesn’t even address the outrageous cost of meds, which has driven me into bankruptcy! Beware spouses of retired employees who don’t pay their CAREMARK or other pharmacy bills on time — I was denied my cancer meds for over three months while I sorted that one out! I ended up having to transfer my scripts to our local CVS, but then could only fill one month at a time, so this too has cost me triple.

  6. I really can’t figure out which side Republicans are on. Maybe you can help me understand. I find this hard to follow…
    Republicans believe we should all be more independent, and pay our own way in healthcare. Fine. That explains voting against “Obamacare”.
    That’s why Republicans would favor that Grandma not be covered by insurance at all, and pull herself up by her bootstraps. That way, there would be no need for death panels – she would simply die without insurance. Seems reasonable to me if you believe that people need to pay their own way.
    What doesn’t follow is how the group that believes there should be no entitlement to care at all would come to the conclusion that a healthcare system that attempts to control costs would more resemble a “death panel” than a group of Republicans voting down healthcare legislation.
    Isn’t that a double standard? If you get a bunch of politicians to vote that Grandma gets no insurance, how different is that than a so called “death panel” making decisions? Either way, care is withheld because of financial limitations. You can decide to kick all Grandma’s to the curb if you’re a legislator, or you can allow a system that provides a thoughtful way to kick Grandma to the curb later in life. What’s the difference?

  7. This isn’t about Democrat or Republican. The problem is that the whole government plan is a lie. Grandma doesn’t come into it. The government is promising Grandma will be covered. She won’t, either way. The government is only capable of offering false promises of answers to problems. Social Security is broke. Medicare is broke. The government is broke. How do you know the politicians are lying? Their lips move.

  8. I’ve been a nurse for 28 years. I am a first generation immigrant. My parents dragged my sister and I over here in a big basket when I was three months old and have lived in Texas all but 3.5 years of my life. My parents studied for their citizenship test for years but were chickens, “what if I don’t pass”. I knew I would go to college when I was in the fourth grade because I figured out that school teachers had to go to college. Because I was told that I would have to pay out of state tuition if I wasn’t a citizen (turned out not true) I immediately started to process at the age of 17 on my own, dragging my family along. I went to college on BEOG grants and work. I had three jobs at a time much of the time. I went to college under the protest of my parents who said just get a job and work your way up. Not in America. Few make it to where they want to be without education in America. After graduation I worked two jobs for many many years. My father worked and paid social security (when he wasn’t drinking) from the moment he landed in Texas until age 65. My mom cleaned houses for people and all but one ever thought about tax responsibilities her’s or their’s.
    My dad passed away several years ago with cancer. He was a tough guy and until he was just weeks from death even cancer did not stop him from living his life. When we were young he used to tell us “if all I can do is move my eyes, don’t pull the plug”. As he aged and came to realize he had dementia and then was unable to realize the dementia was making it impossible for him to live safely on his own he told me to “turn the light off”. Many times I had to tell him I could not do that. But, when the doctor called one day and said he had cancer and was I ok with surgery I had to say no, no surgery. The year before my father had eye surgery which his nursing home did not tell me was being planned. He had scratched his beautiful blue eye out. I explained to the doctor he could not tolerate the surgery and the followup care that would be needed. It was probably a year later that he died of cancer and was bed ridden for two weeks prior to his death.
    My mother has been ill since she was 60 when she had her first heart attack. She and dad were living apart and dad was not sharing his social security benefits. She had no health insurance. I was the eldest of my siblings and healthcare issues were unimaginably expensive, there was no way we could pay for the care she needed. I’ve lived my life on credit cards just to manage all the family crisis. My mother was a mattress saver and had three thousand dollars to her name. The hospital wanted it all. I was in my late twenty’s, a trained social worker, and had to wheel and deal with the hospital to let her have a thousand dollars of it to help her get by at home for a short time. She wasn’t able to work at first. Without rehab she got her self together and worked again. This was only for a short time then she was seen in the ER for cervical cancer. She bleed and bleed to the point she couldn’t walk to the front door with out being short of breath. By this time she was living in my house. (She moved out sixteen years later when she got mad at me, to my sisters house.) She wasn’t able to get treatment until funding was secures. Mom was able to get on Medicaid and received about 300 dollars of dad’s social security. Dad died Mom lost her Medicaid. She sees her doctors regularly and does exactly what she is supposed to do. (Dads social security and a supplement we kids got her on.) She has lived 24 years after her first heart attack. She has had a fx hip, arm, collarbone, ribs etc. She had a hip replacement opposite from the one she broke. She had several more heart attacks, diabetis and cataracts. She is still living her life. All along she has had a Living Will. She laughs and says her doctor is always surprised when she shows up again. She asks now why she is still living when so many are gone. I have been known to tell the nurses at the hospital that if they slow down and explain things to Mom she will understand. And when I tell them she is the grandmother of a brand new doctor they actually pay attention and it’s amazing how much better her care is.
    I sat in the waiting room to be able to see her after one of her surgeries. Obama was running for the presidency and making a speech on television. I listened to him talk about his mother and all that she went through in her end of life issues with Cancer and the health care system. I saw the fire in his eyes and had no doubt change in health care was coming. I voted for him and I would do it again in a heart beat. He didn’t make this healthcare mess, he won’t be able to fix this health care mess. He really needs everyone to get in there and work on it. Saving money on fraud and abuse of the system is a priority he has. I can tell you from my work and contacts that it is a priority and is going on now. End of life issues must be addressed. Death Panels – really!! It’s end of life planning and all of us should be doing it. Setting priorities must happen. Can we pay for a family with a genetic disorder to keep having children that cost hundreds of thousand dollars a year in Medicaid costs? Can we continue to pay for life support on folks with no hope of recovery and ability to have a quality of life (communicate with their family at a minimum)? Can we really continue to let Assisted Living facilities and Senior living communities suck up the retirement savings of seniors leaving them in the end with Medicaid only? And would you really want your loved one receiving services at an assisted living center in Texas? If you are considering it I hope you have enough money to pay for round the clock sitters on top of three thousand plus for the monthly fee.
    My parents have/had been at the controls of their lives always. They made the best choices possible. Family has been supportive of them but lovingly firm in helping them make logical decisions. No death camps or death panels here. It’s up to God in our family.

    • Lulu:
      Every family should discuss end-of-life care, especially with your elderly parents. More than that, each one of us should have a Living Will in which we specify whether or not we want heroic measures to be taken when we are terminally ill.
      That being said, do be so good as to tell us why all this must involve the government? Are we not rational creatures who can make these decisions ourselves? And if you do not believe we are sufficiently rational to do this ourselves and so must have government do it for us, then why do you even believe in voting? For isn’t voting itself dependent on the supposition that we are rational creatures who know what we want, what is good for us, and can therefore select others to represent our wishes? You can’t have it both ways.
      Finally, since you are an enthusiast of both Obama and Obamacare, please explain to us the following:
      1. What does the IRS have to do with healthcare? Why does Obamacare require businesses to report to the IRS any transaction of $600 or more by submitting a 1099 form?
      2. If you so approve of “death panels,” do you also approve of Obama bypassing Congress and going against the explicit will of the American people to sneak “death panels” into Medicare via an administrative rule? Does your and Obama’s end justify any means?

  9. “That being said, do be so good as to tell us why all this must involve the government? Are we not rational creatures who can make these decisions ourselves?”
    Obviously we are not rational creatures when it comes to death and dying issues when a group of people turn “The new provision, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries “deal with the complex decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death. In contrast to the defunct Section 1223 that would have these “advance care planning” consultations every 5 years, the new Medicare rule allows annual discussions as part of a patient’s ”wellness” visits.” into “death panels”.
    We are also not rational about adolescent pregnancy and abortion if we use your because in the last decade of my career it has been unlawful for me to discuss with a patient the option of an abortion and parents must be notified. In many cases an adolescent pregnancy may in fact have been the result of a parent or a parent’s boy friend. There is no logic there for me to mandate parent informing, only parent locking up. (yes, I’m not rational about this)
    I believe that it is a patient right to have all options discussed fully so they can make the best choice possible about their care. My experience is that when those discussions have been honest and complete the adolescent makes good choices. The only time I’ve experienced a patient choosing abortion has been when a physician did the counseling and you got your 15 minutes or less of what they think you need to hear. (I am not talking about all Docs but you know who I am talking about.) And why would anyone decide for a woman that her preborn baby’s life is more important then her own. I am not for abortion but I am for informed of all matters related to one’s health and government should not tell us what to do on either side. But, it’s ok if government is funding health care to mandate appropriate counseling, which means approrpiate documentation of that counseling be made before a patient receives appropriate serves for them.
    People are not generally fully informed about end of life issues. And there are providers that have cared for patients a long time that can not come to terms with it. For example I worked in a nursing home and we got a new resident. Daily I saw decline and knew something was not right. Had a discussion with the family and asked they speak with the doctor. The doctor became angry with the family. The family basically fired him and the individual was placed on hospice services.
    I’ve also seen the patient in the grocery store, newly diagnosed with diabetis, telling a friend I’m going to eat what I want “no one can tell me what I can eat or not”. No people are not rational, nor are they always educated enough or developmentally able enough to fully understand the options they have.
    “Beginning on January 1, 2011, businesses and self-employed individuals must submit 1099 forms to the IRS for all business purchases of $600 or more. The stated purpose for this is to close the ‘tax gap’ which is the difference between the amount of what is “owed” and what is paid, due to lack of reporting and under-reporting, and is estimated at $300 billion dollars a year. ” Can’t answer that, I’m totally incompetent about the IRS. But, I can say the way we make laws with everyone pitching in their two cents to a bill makes it hard to say this is Obama’s doing. I find it interesting that when new folks go to Washington the first thing that happens is “here is how it works”. No wonder nothing changes because you get no where when you don’t follow the rules of the institution there. Like everyone Obama has been getting his lessons by the seat of his pants. After all he wasn’t even in Washington long enough to learn all the lessons before he was elected. I think that may actually have been his biggest selling point.
    “If you so approve of “death panels,” do you also approve of Obama bypassing Congress and going against the explicit will of the American people to sneak “death panels” into Medicare via an administrative rule? Does your and Obama’s end justify any means?”
    Think I’ve answered this in my first comment.

  10. I forgot to answer your question about why do we vote. It’s a countries way of gathering good sense and directing resources to the common goocd. Streets, parks, Military (security), airports, schools, hospitals and ambulance service, etc. Not everyone that votes has good sense hopefully our balance of the individual with the group balances out for best results.
    “Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow. Politicks is not a science so properly as a business. It cannot have fixed principles, from which a wise man would never swerve, unless the inconstancy of men’s view of interest and the capriciousness of the tempers could be fixed.” [Fisher Ames (17581808)]

    • I taught political science for 30 years and retired as a Full Professor Emerita, and so the last person I need to lecture me about the purported purpose of voting is you! Can you not comprehend the English language? I did NOT ask you what voting is. My question was one of logic:

      If you, as you yourself just admitted, believe that Americans are not rational enough to discuss and plan for their own “end of life” affairs, why do you then believe that Americans are rational enough to vote?

      Instead of answering my question, you gave us a dictionary definition of voting. LOL

  11. UPDATE:
    After the New York Times published its article on the Obama administration’s sneaky re-introduction of “death panels,” the news hit the blogosphere and conservative talk radio. Four days after the new policy took effect, on January 4, 2011, the Times reports that the Obama administration abruptly reversed course: All references to “end-of-life planning” as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new Obamacare law will be deleted from Medicare regulations!
    Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.


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