As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

White House Scraps End-of-Life Planning Rule

Their political antennae raised high and buzzing on alert, White House officials have moved to junk a health reform rule, written in the less politically savvy offices at HHS, that would have paid doctors to discuss end-of-life options with patients.

The provision had been stripped out of the health care bill as it made its way through Congress amid an outcry that it could lead to rationing of health care for the aged – that is, de facto death panels.

The rule, a creature created in the laboratory of Medicare chief Dr. Donald Berwick, was an egregious attempt by unelected government bureaucrats to sneak a major provision into the bill that was explicitly NOT INCLUDED by the democratically elected legislature. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

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I'm Donald Berwick. Don't worry, you're going to a better place.

This is exactly what Republicans are talking about when they rue the expansion of government. One officious satrap, the esteemed Dr. Berwick, who KNOWS WHAT’S BEST, decided to substitute
THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE with THE WILL OF DR. BERWICK.

Not only did the provision circumvent the intent of Congress, it wasn’t even included in the proposed federal rulemaking process for the law, which would have allowed people to comment on it.

IT WAS SIMPLY PROMULGATED WITHIN THE FINAL RULE BY DR. BERWICK, because he KNOWS WHAT’S BEST.

Would you tolerate this type of sneakiness from your five year old?

In the New York Times article on the change, which I’ve linked to above, reporter Robert Pear sympathetically calls this a “mix-up” and subtly suggests opponents of the provision are uniformed zealots. It’s clear the White House chose to leak the story to someone they felt they could trust to handle it right. Pear writes,

The renewed debate over advance care planning threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House.

This is much more than a mix up and a distraction. It’s a recognition of a huge mistake, an acknowledgment that  the public doesn’t want this provision and that its inclusion could undermine the law by stoking even greater opposition to it. It’s a tactical retreat until such time as the White House feels it can put the measure back in.

Pear writes that the people who understand these things believed it was a good idea.

Many doctors and providers of hospice care had praised the regulation.

Well, yeah, this would pretty good for business over at the local hospice.

No one believes it’s not smart to start planning early for what we all might face. The concern here is that getting the government into it, given the tremendous new powers the government will have under the new law, provides an avenue for bean counters to begin pressuring for less expensive options.

And the least expensive option is to drop dead.

Dr. Berwick, a leading proponent of health care rationing and an infatuee of the British health care system, presumably has lots more legislating to do as he continues to write the regulations for the health care bill.

Remember, this is what’s going on ABOVE the radar. God only knows what’s doing below it.

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14 Responses to White House Scraps End-of-Life Planning Rule

  1. And yet, rational LEADERSHIP might well argue that conversations about end-of-life are appropriate and ethically and fiscally responsible. That it was stripped from the bill by Palinites yelling “death panels” was ludicrous. The fact is, we ration care all the time, often based on money — and in the future we MUST have conversations that help determine in sensible ways where to spend both personal and public dollars on medical procedures. “Sneaking” it in may not be the right way, but I hope the President will LEAD US in having this most important conversation. We cannot afford to continue to avoid confronting issues just because they are complicated. Not everything can be served up in a minute and a half like McDonald’s chicken goo.

  2. Those doofus Feds must not realize that Doctors do discuss ‘end of life’ options with people who suffer from terminal illness. Chemo, surgery, amputations, et al, are all options that might save a life or just prolong the agony. The outrageousness is when the Feds PAY your doctor to bring up the facts of life or death to healthy seniors.
    MrsPalin was right, our gov’t wants to decide who’s ‘sponge worthy’ and who should just lay down and die (or was it MrGrayson?).
    We should always remember that the ‘death panels’ will not just apply to seniors but to every age when an expensive and risky medical procedure would prolong life; children and young adults are not excluded.

  3. This whole mess was pre-ordained in a song by the Metal band Anthrax like 20+years ago..(You know when we was in High School)
    Classic..

    Caught In A Mosh lyrics
    Songwriters: Belladonna, Joe; Bello, Frank; Benante, Charlie; Ian, Scott; Spitz, Dan;

    Why don’t you listen to me when I try to talk to you
    Stop thinking of yourself for just a second, fool
    Shut up, shut up, I don’t wanna hear your mouth
    Your mother made a monster, now get the hell out of my house

    Can’t stand it for another day
    I ain’t gonna live my life this way
    Cold sweat, my fists are clenching
    Stomp, stomp, stomp the idiot convention

    Which one of these words don’t you understand
    I’m caught in a mosh
    Talking to you is like clapping with one hand

    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh

    Don’t tell me how to do my job
    There’s the door, your name’s on the knob
    You’re always in the way like a beast on my back
    Were you dropped as a baby ’cause brain you lack

    Can’t stand it for another day
    I ain’t gonna live my life this way
    Cold sweat, my fists are clenching
    [From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/anthrax-lyrics/caught-in-a-mosh-lyrics.html ]
    Stomp, stomp, stomp the idiot convention

    Which one of these words don’t you understand
    I’m caught in a mosh
    Talking to you is like clapping with one hand

    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh

    Think before you speak or suffer for your words
    Learn to give respect that others give to you
    Oh, the best you can do

    Hey man, I’m trying to reason but you don’t understand
    Talking in circles, we’ll never get it straight
    Just you and me in our theater of hate

    Can’t stand it for another day
    I ain’t gonna live my life this way
    Cold sweat, my fists are clenching
    Stomp, stomp, stomp the idiot convention

    Which one of these words don’t you understand
    I’m caught in a mosh
    Talking to you is like clapping with one hand

    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh
    What is it? Caught in a mosh

    © NFP MUSIC;

    NUFF said..