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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Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 04:00 pm
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ozarkalien....are you aware

ozarkalien....are you aware that the regulation included a script of what the doctor must cover....written by the GOVERNMENT. Not by a doctor. You can call people here nuts, but you are revealing that you have no idea what the regulation says.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 04:02 pm
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sjgraci.....are you aware

sjgraci.....are you aware that this mandated counseling IS a death panel? It was removed from the law because of the outrage of the people...then after the bill passed, the President wants to put it back in anyway.

dani
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dani 12/31/10 - 05:17 pm
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When did it become the right

When did it become the right of man to decide life or death of an innocent being.
To me this is all so wrong.
Life that once was considered precious is now as nothing.

eagle
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eagle 12/31/10 - 05:19 pm
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Counseling or not and by whom
Unpublished

Counseling or not and by whom is up to each individual person. However, once again, Obama and this admin wants to sneak everything in through the back door. He has to learn that this isn't Burger Kind and he CAN NOT have it his way!!! 2012 can't get here fast enough!!

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 05:19 pm
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The left is well known for

The left is well known for defending criminal life, and disregarding innocent life.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 06:07 pm
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Question for those that don't

Question for those that don't think this is a death panel. How would you define a death panel?

JRE
62
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JRE 12/31/10 - 06:28 pm
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Nobody wants the government

Nobody wants the government making critical health care decisions but they expect the government through medicare to pay all expenses - can't have it both ways.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 06:34 pm
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Problem is, JRE....I have

Problem is, JRE....I have payed 10's of thousands of dollars into medicare, it's NOT a handout.....Personally I would just rather have a refund.

dwb619
93851
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dwb619 12/31/10 - 06:38 pm
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Government mandates

Government mandates automobile liability insurance.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 06:46 pm
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Not if you don't own a car.

Not if you don't own a car. The only way to avoid the mandate for health insurance is to die!

And the FEDERAL government doesn't mandate auto insurance. See the 10th amendment for details. People try to use that argument all the time....I'm sure the Federal Judge who ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional had never heard of auto insurance.....sheesh.

dwb619
93851
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dwb619 12/31/10 - 06:55 pm
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18 of 42 comments. 43%. You

18 of 42 comments. 43%. You really need a hobby.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 12/31/10 - 07:12 pm
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Counting peoples comments?

Counting peoples comments? ............. and who needs a hobby? Does it just sting that I pointed out that your statement was untrue? And you missed all the posts that had been removed for hateful content.

dani
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dani 12/31/10 - 09:54 pm
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Let

Let

Crabby Appleton
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Crabby Appleton 12/31/10 - 10:57 pm
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I can bet you one thing.

I can bet you one thing. Hundreds of thousand of bills are going to be submitted for "end of life" care briefings whether or not the patient asked for them. It's just going to show up on the bill. Doctors are going to jump all over this one. There will be few patients making appointments for this service, it'll just be casually discussed during routine visits for other stuff and then be billed for.

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