"Death panels" finding their way back into ObamaCare

Despite the fact that they had to drop this idea from the original legislation...and despite the fact that promoters of health care "reform" promised that no such thing would ever happen, here it is, just months removed from ObamaCare being signed into law.

In case you missed it, the White House is planning to put forward regulations that will incentivize doctors to meet with patients and discuss their "end of life" options.

Via the NY Times:

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.

Of course this is just the camel's nose under the tent.  First they'll just incentivize doctors to "discuss options" with patients.  But what happens if enough patients don't choose the preferred "options"?

The slippery slope here is the fact that, as the government takes over more of the health care system, becomes a de facto health care provider, the emphasis will move more to cutting costs...  Of course the "costs" come from patients....which effectively puts people on the side of the ledger that gets cut.  They become a cost to be controlled.  How much better to cut costs than encourage people to "remove themselves" from the system completely?

And how perverse is it that patients would essentially be creating the equivalent of a living will, not with a lawyer, but with someone who is being "incentivized" by their health care provider (aka, the government)?

This issue offers just a glimpse of how the Obama administration plans to proceed, now that they know there's no chance of getting any more of the liberal agenda through Congress for the foreseeable future.

It's a reality that stems from the fact that the health care "reform" bill, just like pretty much every other piece of legislation Congress has passed, gives the bureaucracy the power to issue regulations (that have the force of law) in order to "further promote" the purposes of the legislation.  In other words, Congress has been outsourcing its Constitutional authority to legislate to unelected bureaucrats - further frustrating the average American voter, as it makes it harder for them to know "whom to blame".

The result is a more powerful bureaucracy (and executive branch), and a less relevant Congress...which means less relevant voters.

Just as intended.

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