August 14th, 2009
09:47 AM ET

'Death panel' fears are false

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/11/specter.town.hall/art.spector.twn.hall.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Arlen Specter, left, answers questions Tuesday during a forum in Lebanon, Pennsylvania."]

By Douglas W. Blayney and Brenda Nevidjon
Special to CNN

The heated national debate on health care reform has taken an unusual turn, with many eyes focused on a minor provision regarding end-of-life care embedded in the House bill.

The measure provides coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who elect to meet with their medical team once every five years to discuss options for treatment if they become seriously ill. It's called end-of-life care or advance care planning.

Some opponents of the House bill have expended great energy and resources in recent weeks to convince seniors that this provision will somehow result in government-sponsored euthanasia.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Health Care
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Gordon barnes

    Fears of "Rationing " are irrational. Rationing of health care has always been present.Rationing of all kinds is part of the human condition – we make choices.If we lived for ever ( put aside spiritual concepts) and if every need and desire were instantly satisfyable, there would be no need for rationing.Presently people ration their Health care themselves because of time or money.Drs ration their care regimens for the same reasons. No point in instituting care that the patient can't afford or won't complete or can't survive or that the insurance company does not approve because it's experimental or exceeds policy schedules or lifetime or annual or proceedural limits.
    There is not enough money in the World to treat everyone in the US for all the proceedures that you could have. Hence, Rationing – live with it!

    August 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Ann Seamans

    I am appalled at the old geesers on Medicare showing up for the town hall meetings. Medicare works. They are lucky to have Medicare.

    The Republicans are successfully shifting the blame for 8 years of Bush who got the deficit to 1 trillion for killing young Americans. No one ever objected then but 1 trillion to help Americans with health issues? Now that's a problem.

    I don't see much listening at these Town Hall meetings and am afraid that many unsuspecting people there are stooges for the insurance companies and the Republicans who need to start thinking and having original solutions to problems.

    I believe these loudmouth people are selfishly venting about their own lost savings and forgetting that some people without health care are in dire straits.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  3. Ron San Bruno, Ca

    Dear Deather's, I want you too know that when I die I will become a cadaver, and buy choosing too do so, perhaps one of your family members will benifit from my decision and option at my point of death. Amen .

    August 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Joanne R. Pacicca

    Just think of who, what, where, when and we will never know why, the person(s) spread this false rumor of convenience!

    August 14, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  5. Jo

    The end-of-life situation should be considered between the doctor who is treating the patient and the person with power of attorney. People should remenber the Teri Schiavo case when some wanted the Supreme court to step in and make a decision that only her husband should have made; and thankfully he did. Is the supreme court part of the government?. The people who screaming the loudest are people who want others to feel and think like them. Where are all the families of those who used Jack Kevorkian to assist with terminal ill patients right.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  6. Paul

    It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

    How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  7. Melissa

    No, the cause for concern is not real. Its an invention to scare people into saying no. There is no death panel. Enough already.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  8. Gwen

    My 2 cents worth: The people afraid of what health care reform really means for senors are justified in their concerns. Obama’s administration is truly starting generational warfare. Please read Obama’s medical ethicist adviser Zeke Emanuel’s (Rahm Emanuel’s brother) article in The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9661, Pages 423 – 431, 31 January 2009 : Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions by Ezekiel J Emanuel MD

    Summary: Allocation of very scarce medical interventions such as organs and vaccines is a persistent ethical challenge. We evaluate eight simple allocation principles that can be classified into four categories: treating people equally, favoring the worst-off, maximizing total benefits, and promoting and rewarding social usefulness. No single principle is sufficient to incorporate all morally relevant considerations and therefore individual principles must be combined into multiprinciple allocation systems. We evaluate three systems: the United Network for Organ Sharing points systems, quality-adjusted life-years, and disability-adjusted life-years. We recommend an alternative system—the complete lives system—which prioritizes younger people who have not yet lived a complete life, and also incorporates prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value principles.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  9. Melissa

    This "death panel" crap has to stop. Its mindlessly idiotic and these people need to grow up.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:49 am |