In a bit of political comedy, the Obama administration is freaking out over a New York Times report that ObamaCare will include compensating doctors for end of life consultations with their patients. This was originally in ObamaCare, but was quickly yanked after critics — who can do math as well as any Democrat — worried it will morph into physicians refusing care for older, more feeble patients. Sarah Palin memorably coined the phrase “death panel.”
But huge bureaucracies don’t die, and “death panels,” or “end of life” consultations, will be placed into Medicare regulation; the feds will pay doctors to talk end of life care with their patients. It’s actually a good idea for patients to discuss these options with their doctors; whether or not it should be federally funded is a topic worth debate. The fear, and this is not an exaggeration, is that once voluntary end of life counseling is enshrined in ObamaCare, that will lead to choosing who gets to be treated, or in other words, live one day, regardless of a patient’s wishes. Hyper-liberal Paul Krugman understands this and uses the term “death panels” to explain one way government would reduce health care costs in the future. watch
A final note: It’s almost amusing to recall liberals lecturing us how much we would love ObamaCare once Congress just ignored us sillies and passed the bill. That was quite a political miscalculation: call it a “Pelosi.” My favorite part of the New York Times story read are these e-mails from party hack pol Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.:
After learning of the administration’s decision, Mr. Blumenauer’s office celebrated “a quiet victory,” but urged supporters not to crow about it.
“While we are very happy with the result, we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Mr. Blumenauer’s office said in an e-mail in early November to people working with him on the issue. “This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”
Moreover, the e-mail said: “We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are ‘supporters’ — e-mails can too easily be forwarded.”
The e-mail continued: “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”
I suspect ObamaCare will be a gift that keeps on giving through the 2012 elections.