Sarah Palin memorably labeled an end-of-life counseling option in the Obama health care reform plan as "death panels," fueling an uproar that led Democrats to withdraw the measure. Now, the Obama administration is effectively enacting the same policy through a new Medicare rule that takes effect Jan. 1. Under the policy, Medicare will pay for doctors to advise patients on end-of-life care, including the option to forego aggressive treatments. Is this a sinister development?
Let's cut the lies this time: The only thing more "shameful" than the fact that "Sarah Palin was able to launch her celebrity career by misleading and terrifying millions of people" with the "death panel" lie is that the media helped her do it, says Kay at Balloon Juice. The advance medical directives soon to be covered under Medicare "aren't controversial" or even new, and they give patients "more autonomy and power," not less. Let's hope we're more rational this time around.
"Maybe this time someone will call her on it"
The "death panel" label is not a lie: Advance directives "sound helpful and reasonable," says Ann Althouse in her blog. But what seemed like enhanced "autonomy and control" when your government-paid doctor encouraged you to fill one out can be a death sentence when you're in the situation, dying of a "treatable" illness. And conveniently, the government saves money. "You may not like the label" Palin used to clarify the policy, but "death panels" aren't too far off the mark.
"Death panels are back"
This signals Obama's new strategy: There's nothing wrong with the new Medicare policy itself, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. "These conversations need to take place before the pressures of acute circumstances come into play," and during annual "wellness" checkups seems a good time. The "disturbing" part is how Obama enacted it, after Congress ditched the policy in "ObamaCare." Watch out: This is just the "opening gambit" of Obama's approach for dealing with a GOP-empowered Congress.
"Surprise! End-of-life advisory incentives return — through regulation"