Saturday, August 15, 2009

Republicans, for Death Panels Before They Were Against Them.

Amy Sullivan does some old fashioned reporting and discovers that the Death Panels – that is, reimbursing Doctors for providing end of life counseling to patients – appeared in the Republican’s 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Bill. You remember that bill, the one that made it illegal for the federal government to negotiate costs with prescription drug manufacturers.

Sullivan notes that the text of the bill includes this statement:
The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom
management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the
beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising
the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning.
She goes on, “The only difference between the 2003 provision and the infamous Section 1233 . . . is that the first applied only to terminally ill patients. Section 1233 would expand funding so that people could voluntarily receive counseling before they become terminally ill.” (hyperbole omitted).

Incidentally, not only did Sen. Grassley join 41 other Republicans in supporting the bill, he was a cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill, introduced by former Senator and Majority Leader Bill Frist.

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