Taking politics out of it

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

For the new health care law, the Obama administration recently deleted references to end-of-life planning conversations when detailing what can be covered under Medicare.  Just two weeks ago, the topic was on the table for discussion.

While the administration explained this omission as “procedural”, it seems more like a political move to me.  Another outbreak of “death panel” controversy could offer additional ammunition to opposers of the bill. 

It’s a shame that, as a society, we can’t be more open about the end of life.  Why is the topic of death so taboo?   We know that there is no magic elixir that will extend our lives indefinitely, right?  As long as there is a finite end to life, shouldn’t we want to ensure that our last days, months, and years are as comfortable as possible?

The good news is that Medicare patients and their doctors can still have these beneficial conversations during annual physicals.  And thanks to the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (which passed in 2008), those conversations will still be covered and doctors reimbursed for this very valuable service.  But the yearly annual exam is where it will have to happen.  It seems that (as of a few days ago) any separate appointments to discuss preferences at the end of life will not be covered under Medicare.

The bad news is that whenever this controversy raises its ugly head, it is even more apparent that our society is hesitant to discuss a very natural process in life.  Just like any other topic  introduced into the political playing field, sides must be chosen and stands taken.  Discomfort ensues.

I wish we could take politics out of it.  I wish we could quit worrying about who’s going to pay for it, and when they’re going to pay for it.  Making thoughtful decisions in advance and letting our loved ones know about them for our final journey is simply beneficial to us all.  Republicans and democrats alike.

Explore posts in the same categories: advance directives, advocacy, awareness, education, end of life, health care reform, hospice, Medicare

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3 Comments on “Taking politics out of it”

  1. Katie Says:

    Thanks for your post. I’ve been hoping to hear from HPCCR on this. I hope you can help educate a wider local audience about what this means.

  2. Daniel Hill Says:

    I object to Obamacare from top to bottom, but it is no secret that I don’t want government panels deciding what medical treatments are or are not called for as I age. I trust HMOs only a tad more than the present government, but at least if I disgree with the HMO I can appeal. If our government says “no”, to whom does one appeal? Healthcare is none of the Federal Government’s business. Neither was baseball’s steroid scandal.


  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amie Blanton, Jeri Brentlinger and others. Jeri Brentlinger said: RT @HospiceCLT: Taking politics out of it: http://wp.me/pQB0b-qu [...]


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