More on End-of-Life Counseling
Putting the issue of health-care reform aside, I would just like to point out the basic flaw in the "death panel" scare, hopefully without sounding too mercenary about it. I, and the vast majority of my medical colleagues around the country, do not work for the government. We are in private practice, and we get paid to care for patients in those intensive-care units. Does anyone seriously think a token fee to discuss end-of-life issues outweighs what we would make were those patients kept alive? If we were so easily bought, as these misinformed people imply, you would think we would be firmly against these discussions. And yet we are some of the most vehement supporters of them, regardless of whether we would be paid for them. Why do you suppose that is?
Sarah Palin and other pundits have set us back 10 years with their rhetoric and scare tactics, simply for political gain.
Regarding Ingrid Komar's Sept. 1 Health commentary, "Nothing to Get Scared About":
Ms. Komar wrote that under H.R. 3200, Medicare will cover end-of-life counseling and "medical professionals you choose would provide advice and guidance; you would be free to follow or to ignore it or not consult them at all." Wrong. Simply providing coverage would have taken one or two lines in the bill, not six pages.