Monday, December 27, 2010
Earlier, I posted an editorial by The New York Sun discussing Governor Palin's foresight and accuracy in calling out the "death panels" in Obamacare. Add to that an Ed Morrissey article on the same topic. In "Surprise! End-of-life advisory incentives return — through regulation," he deals with the end of life options doctors will be incentivized into discussing with patients.
There is nothing wrong with patients planning for contingencies through advance directives. There is also nothing wrong with doctors discussing those options with patients ahead of those decisions. As the spouse of a patient who has faced life-threatening circumstances on more than one occasion, I certainly understand why these conversations need to take place before the pressures of acute circumstances come into play. This new regulatory effort at least puts the conversation where it belongs, in routine wellness visits, rather than as a five-year set conversation. It also appears to make this a voluntary conversation (at least for now), one the patient can decline without any repercussions.
There is, however, something at least vaguely disturbing about a government incentivizing doctors to do so as part of an expansive regulatory program that has, as one of its primary goals, cost reduction. The process used by Obama and Kathleen Sebelius to get this into ObamaCare is more disturbing, and in a very specific way. Congress made it clear that it didn’t want this incentive as part of the new law. However, thanks to the miles and miles of ambiguity in the final version of ObamaCare, with its repetitive the Secretary shall determine language, Congress has more or less passed a blank check for regulatory growth to Obama and Sebelius.
Read more here.
Governor Palin was not blowing hot air, lying, or fearmongering when she warned that Obamacare would lead to "death panels." After she drew attention to it, Congress removed the panels they said were never there. The issue needed to be addressed then, and as we see now, it remains at the forefront of the health care conversation, and well it should. And now it seems governmment has found a way to sneak these panels back in.
When one of government's primary goals is to cut costs, its primary goal cannot simultaneously be to do what's best for people--and that's a problem. Now, if government would do what Governor Palin has been advocating from Day 1--such as allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines, focusing on tort reform, and then getting out of the way--the private sector could open up for people to make the decisions they deem best for themselves and their families. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work in America anyway?