A rotten idea resurrected

Obamacare's end-of-life provision returns like a zombie from the grave

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If a provision is dropped from a bill before it passes through Congress, it spells the end of that proposed part of the law. When the revised version of a bill is signed, it becomes law, without said provision.

That is, until the executive bureaucrats get hold of it.

According to The New York Times (not Fox News, interestingly enough), a provision in new Medicare regulations that will take effect Jan. 1 incentivizes physicians to discuss "end of life" planning with patients during annual Medicare physicals.

It would appear the executive branch has used its bureaucratic tools to enforce one of the most controversial parts of Obamacare -- end-of-life planning -- that was clearly and purposefully removed from the bill during congressional debate. The regulations would pay physicians for discussing plans for terminal illness with elderly patients.

We've got a ton of questions about all this. But the threshold one is this: Is that really the government's business?

During the health-care debates, the nation's answer seemed to be an overwhelming "no," a rejection that resounded through poll after poll, protests and raucous and emotional town hall meetings, as rumors of Orwellian "death panels" began popping up.

Congress responded appropriately, deleting the provision from the bill.

So how is it that it's showing up again?

Unless it's opened back up for debate in Congress, no means no. Lawmaking is specifically the domain of Congress, according to the Constitution. While it is the job of the executive branch to implement the laws passed by Congress -- and federal agencies routinely write rules and regulations giving legs to those laws -- stretching the law by adding a new provision masquerading as a "regulation" goes far beyond its range of constitutional authority.

It is usurping the role of Congress and making laws by bureaucratic fiat.

In addition, it appears supporters are attempting to cover this up: When the end-of-life provision was added by the bureaucrats, supporters inside the government actually were asked not to publicize the accomplishment, for fear of public reaction.

When questioned, the press office at the White House attributed the rogue provision to a bill signed during the Bush administration. However, that's disingenuous: The end-of-life counseling incentive for physicians is something entirely new.

It's as if they are trying to hide policy-making from the American people. Why -- if it's such a good thing to begin with?

The executive branch's attempt to circumvent Congress and play fast and loose with the public not only is entirely unconstitutional, but frightening -- suggesting that someone in the executive branch is desirous of creating a "shadow Congress" that can and will rewrite Congress' laws to suit their own ends.

The end-of-life provision roundly shouted down by the American people is just as troubling -- appearing for all the world to be a start to rationing, which the current head of Medicare is on record as having supported, and which would come at the expense of America's seniors.

Let's hope The New York Times' spotlight on this bit of skulduggery will kill this provision once and for all.

We'll have to watch this government more closely than perhaps any in our history.

Comments (40) Add comment
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soldout
1283
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soldout 12/31/10 - 04:22 am
0
0
We better trust our health

We better trust our health and well being to the one on earth who cares the most about your health and that is you. You don't have a control or profit motive concerning your health like the government and drug companies; you actually care about you. Learn why alternative care can beat regular care hands down in 80% of all situations and is 50 years ahead in some. Financial freedom is good but health care freedom may be even better.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 12/31/10 - 05:35 am
0
0
This administration is going

This administration is going to shove what it wants down your throat whether you like it or not. Either legally or illegally. Chicago politics has made it to the White House making it more tarnished than ever before in our history.

Rhetor
1082
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Rhetor 12/31/10 - 07:01 am
0
0
First, let me explain

First, let me explain something. People die. All of us will die. Some of us die suddenly, but others of us linger. End-of-life care is an important issue. Many, perhaps most, people with terminal chronic illnesses want to make an appointment with their own doctor to discuss alternatives--should they go on a respirator, should they get palliative chemo, should they end life in a three-month coma kept alive by tubes, should they sign a living will? Your physician's advice is often welcome at this stage. This provision of the law provides that if people choose to have such a session with their doctor, then Medicare will pay for it like any other doctor visit. That's it. The provision in question was orginally drafted by a conservative Republican. To call this provision an open door to government rationing is absurd beyond earthly description.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
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overburdened_taxpayer 12/31/10 - 07:52 am
0
0
Rhetor - end-of-life

Rhetor - end-of-life counseling might be part of the issue but the bigger picture here is that this President slid something in AFTER it was deleted by Congress. Something the majority of Americans did not want. He has no right to impose this kind of back-door legislation on the American people.

old49er
1
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old49er 12/31/10 - 07:55 am
0
0
We are heading toward

We are heading toward government rationing of health care, whether some people deny it or not. Obama's behind the scenes appointment of Donald Berwitz to head up Medicare is proof of that. This man has openly stated that he favors rationing and is an admirer of the UK's government system. And if you think that the government will do a good job in overseeing the health care system, just look at the marvelous job they did in managing the oil spill. We need to keep focused and make sure that Obama only has one term.

TheFederalist
1
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TheFederalist 12/31/10 - 07:59 am
0
0
Continually lying to the

Continually lying to the American people has become routine by Darth Hussein & Co, so why is everyone so miffed when another lie comes to light? What he cannot get through legislation, which has now come to an end with the takeover of the House by the GOP, he will now achieve by regulation via the EPA, Justice Dept, FCC, etc. Just when you thought the headlong rush to socialism was finally halted, he just goes another route. However, thus man cut his teeth in the corrupt thuggery of the Chicago political arena, and is used to getting his way, so it should come as no surprise to anyone really. He will find a way to shove his liberal agenda down our collective throats one way or another. I submit to you his greenhouse gas regulations just recently enacted by the EPA as just one of many ways he is getting climate control after failing in congrss. Get ready for two long years of political warfare, and if he is not defeated in 2012, then the nanny state will become a reality, and Big Brother will be busy saving you from yourself and taking all you have to give to the guy down the street that sits at home and collects his Government checks, because obviously he needs it more than you do. It's called Socialism, and it has never worked before in the history of the world, yet the liberals keep trying. God forbid they ever succeed.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 08:21 am
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I have cleaned a street,

I have cleaned a street, fought in a war, inspected some buildings, among other things you mentioned........I bet your messiah hasn't done ANY of that.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 08:25 am
0
0
Apparently, having experience

Apparently, having experience running things is NOT a requirement to be President, now is it?

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 08:33 am
0
0
Do you want to match quote

Do you want to match quote for quote of stupid things Obama has said? "My Muslim faith", "visited all 57 states." "E plurabus unum is our national motto." Dare I go on?

Rather
56
Points
Rather 12/31/10 - 08:51 am
0
0
Define, "Discuss End of Life"

Define, "Discuss End of Life" ... it could be, "You know, someday you are going to kick the bucket." to a 30 minute tele-prompt discertation. It would likely be the former and be just another way rip off the Medicare insurance. Doctors are good people but Obama-care is cutting their fees. Put me in my Dr's place and I will show you how to get even with Obama-care. And, you know what? It all will have no effect on people dying. Of course, there is an ulterior motive and that is for Dr's to give the Govt an excuse to say, "I'm sorry, treating your specific illness any further is a waste of money, we are going to let you die, its costing too much money and you are not worth it". Trust your Government to save money by killing you.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 08:54 am
0
0
Funny thing is was a Democrat

Funny thing is was a Democrat who said the Republican's plan for healthcare was "die early."...... Now it's their top priority to implement just that plan.

Rather
56
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Rather 12/31/10 - 09:09 am
0
0
RETIRED - "take the AMA to

RETIRED - "take the AMA to task for their limiting of our supply of Doctors"? The AMA has perhaps a little to do with the supply of Dr's, but if I were planning my future and education, after looking at Obama-care limiting my future salaries and dictating my profession - I would not bother with the expense and an estimated 12 years of Medical training. And, it is not just Obama-care, I look at my Dr and hospital bills and what my own Group Insurance finally pays (at about 15-17%). It is a wonder that anyone goes to medical school at all. But for now the HMO's can get cheap ones from India.

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
Retired....do you know the

Retired....do you know the difference between Government handout and Government pay for performing a job? What makes you think I want the government to go away? I just want them to be responsible, and to stop stepping on the rights of the citizens by overstepping their constitutional boundaries.

Besides....it wasn't I who asked when was the last time I had done any of those things, in an obvious snide assumption that I had done none of it.

faithson
5507
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faithson 12/31/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
Did anyone watch PBS

Did anyone watch PBS Frontline that dealt with end of life issues in the Intensive Care ward ?? Being a hospice volunteer I can tell you, the issue of how you want to be taken care of is vitally important if we are to continue to have the quality of health care we now experience. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Everyone should be expected to have an end of life discussion with their family and doctor. EVERYONE!

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 10:50 am
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0
adding on the above post by

adding on the above post by faithson..............and it should be the decision of the Doctor and patient.....NOT the Nanny Government!

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 12/31/10 - 11:10 am
0
0
I totally agree, Faithson

I totally agree, Faithson (bless you for your volunteer work). I have had "the talk" with my doctor, my family, and even friends, but I didn't wait until an emergency or until I was too far gone to let my wishes be known. People need to get it done now, then you can forget it until and if you need it.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 12/31/10 - 11:20 am
0
0
What? The executive branch

What? The executive branch sidestepped the House and the Senate again? Say it isn't so, the community oranizer would NEVER do that!!!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 12/31/10 - 11:29 am
0
0
mad hatter has it totally

mad hatter has it totally right. The govt should not be telling us what to do. I have a mother and a father, thank you very much. I don't need a third "parent" dictating my every move!

I've said it before, I do believe we are close to civil war again. We are too far opposed in what we want as a nation. Each day I see less & less common ground.

30-40% of the population wants the govt to be their babysitter, their employer, their sugar daddy, their mommy, their enabler, the rule enforcer for 100% of life. They are willing to give up their freedom & their money for this so-called "safety".

The rest of us believe in independence, self reliance, dignity, legitimate & legal capitalism and most importantly freedom. In other words. Minimal government.

We should each be allowed to go our own separate way. Split the nation's land 60-40. 60% for Freedom Lovers. 40% for Dependents & Moochers (good luck to you, without our money you'll need it).

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 11:32 am
0
0
Some of the liberals here

Some of the liberals here have tipped their hand. THEY think you should do it, therefore they will make it law that you do it. The left won't be satisfied until the government controls every aspect of your life..........and your death.

dani
13
Points
dani 12/31/10 - 11:51 am
0
0
Retired Army..The bill was

Retired Army..The bill was passed by "executive fiat" according to the NYT. That means by Obama. Gibbs says they did nothing wrong, they only took an old bill signed by Bush and made some changes, that's all. What a bunch of sneaks we have running this country!

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 12/31/10 - 01:15 pm
0
0
RETIRED, are you kidding?
Unpublished

RETIRED, are you kidding? You're listing regulation of banks as a government service that is positive? Well, why don't we look at the wonderful, efficient services our "guvmint" provides us. FDIC...going broke. Social Security...going broke. Medicare...going broke. Our national debt...13 trillion and rising the last time I checked, over 2 trillion added to it Obama's first term in office. Inspections? Why is our infrastructure in such a sorry state if the fed inspectors are doing such a bang up job? Yeah, I can see how you can be proud of our government's efficient service. By the way, lots of us served in wars. And yes, we took the government paycheck. Why shouldn't we? We were putting out butts on the line the same as you. The country MUST have people to volunteer to serve in the military. What's your point?

MajorPaul
0
Points
MajorPaul 12/31/10 - 01:20 pm
0
0
So what is so bad about a Dr

So what is so bad about a Dr discussing end of life life care with a patient? Any age patient?
You are pretty much an idiot if you do not have a will (provided you actually have any property or children), and just as much of an idiot if you do not take care of the business of dieing too.
Discussing end of life care is not about discussing suicide, it is about what kind of care you want should you have a serious medical incident, and end up a squash on the fruits and vegetables ward. It is about prolonging you life if you are not in the position to make that decision yourself.
It is about saving money! If you are in the hospital with no valid directive as to what to do if you stroke out or have a heart attack and die, the staff has no choice but to revive you. You are lying there nothing but a bunch of collards, your family is paying several thousand dollars a day for someone to cultivate you, and then you will die anyway - maybe in a few days -- maybe in a month or more. But the bills do not stop piling up just because you are no longer able to read them.
If you have a written directive, you get to make the choice about what happens to you in such a circumstance.
For Ralph's sake, this is not about taking away a freedom, it is about making sure you have the freedom to choose what you want at the end of your life!

JRE
62
Points
JRE 12/31/10 - 01:28 pm
0
0
Unfortunately the editorial

Unfortunately the editorial only takes a purely political view of this problem. The majority of health care costs are incurred in the final 3 months of life and discussing what needs to be done in this period is necessary in any consideration of our healthcare cost problem. This is a serious problem but is distorted into death panel discussions only for poltical debate. Even our own Republican Senator Johnny Isakson proposed legislation to compensate doctors for end of life counseling.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Major...there's nothing wrong

Major...there's nothing wrong with it..... The problem comes with mandating that it be done.....

Rhetor
1082
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Rhetor 12/31/10 - 01:38 pm
0
0
Hatter, nobody is mandating

Hatter, nobody is mandating anything. Not a thing. Counseling with your own doctor is an option for those who wish to do so. The government is not empowered to make any of these decisions.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 01:44 pm
0
0
It's quite clear that Rhetor

It's quite clear that Rhetor doesn't know what a REGULATION is.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 01:45 pm
0
0
Rhetor....the Government is

Rhetor....the Government is not empowered to mandate that you purchase insurance......but they sure did it anyway!

MajorPaul
0
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MajorPaul 12/31/10 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Care is mandated too. Is

Care is mandated too. Is that 'evil' hatter?
If you dont want the counseling you tell your Dr Thanks, but no thanks. The bill doesnt say they will hold you down and force you to talk to the Dr.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 02:01 pm
0
0
And MajorPaul doesn't know

And MajorPaul doesn't know what a regulation is either.

Mad Hatter
0
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 02:09 pm
0
0
There is nothing wrong with

There is nothing wrong with counseling.....for god's sake! How many times do we have to say that the problem is the Government mandating not only that it occurs, but what must be covered!!!!

If you want the government taking over every aspect of your life, then I guess it's ok.

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