Why Fear of Death Panels is Real
That’s not the question that I was debating. That is an entirely different matter. All I was pointing out was that something that was not in the original Obamacare bill was going to be added in December, and that was that doctors who are paid by Medicare, because they see Medicare patients, were going to be told that if they ceased having at least once a year end-of-life discussion sessions, counseling sessions with their parents, that they were not going to be reimbursed, they were gonna be frozen out. In other words, it was a mild form of blackmail. You either implement government policy and you tell these patients about dying, you counsel them on it, whatever it is, or we’re no longer gonna reimburse you for the work you do with any Medicaid patient. So that was properly seen as an attempt by the administration to sneak something back in by executive order. This was not done legislatively.
It was kept out because it caused such a firestorm of opposition when it was first learned, when people started reading the original health care bill, they took it out because it was imperiling even Democrat votes, ’cause anything that even got close to confirming the existence of death panels, after all, what’s a death panel? A death panel is some agent of the government getting involved in a discussion with a patient, and if you’re a doctor being paid by Medicare, the government, being told you have to do this, you’re seen as an agent of government, talk about their death and counseling them on ways, so forth. If it could get anywhere close to where people could say you are counseling somebody to get out of the way, accept that death is imminent, anything like that, then the death panel discussion is back and it’s a political problem for Democrats. And that’s why the whole thing came up, and it’s been pulled again because they tried to sneak it in on the executive side just the latter part of December.