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Thread: Senators exclude end-of-life provision from bill

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    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Default Senators exclude end-of-life provision from bill

    Senators exclude end-of-life provision from bill
    Thu Aug 13, 1:55 pm ET
    WASHINGTON Key senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from health overhaul legislation after language in a House bill caused a furor.

    Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.

    A health care bill passed by three House committees allows Medicare to reimburse doctors for voluntary counseling sessions about end-of-life decisions. But critics have claimed the provision could lead to death panels and euthanasia for seniors.

    The Senate Finance Committee is still working to complete a bill.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

    WASHINGTON (AP) For more than a decade in Congress, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer has been known for his ever-present bow-tie and tireless advocacy of bikes.

    So it is something of a surprise to the Portland Democrat that he has earned a new measure of fame in recent days as author of a health-care provision that some critics say would set up a "death panel."

    In a widely quoted Facebook posting, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin charged that federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors or children with Down syndrome such as Palin's son Trig are worthy of health care. Palin called the proposal "downright evil."

    Many news organizations including The Associated Press debunked Palin's claim. The provision that caused the uproar would authorize Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling about end-of-life care.

    But Blumenauer says he is astounded that Palin and other critics have not tempered their bleak descriptions of the health care bill.

    "It's deliberate at this point," Blumenauer said of Palin's failure to correct her Aug. 7 Facebook posting. "If she wasn't deliberately lying at the beginning, she is deliberately allowing a terrible falsehood to be spread with her name."

    Blumenauer singled out another prominent Republican, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying he has "linked arms with Sarah Palin and death panels." While Gingrich has not used the term death panel, he has declined several opportunities to denounce Palin's claim.

    "You are asking us to trust turning power over to the government, when there are clearly people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards," Gingrich said Sunday on the ABC's "This Week."

    Blumenauer called the comments despicable and part of an orchestrated effort by Republicans to discredit the health care overhaul and scare seniors.

    In nearly four decades of public life, "this is the starkest example I've ever seen of how, if we're not careful, political discourse dissolves into some type of partisan cage-fighting, where there are no rules and anything goes," said Blumenauer, 60.

    Palin did not respond to requests for comment. But in a Facebook posting late Wednesday night, Palin defended her original claim, which President Barack Obama and other Democrats have criticized.

    "With all due respect, it's misleading for the president to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients," she said, noting that the provision authorizes consultations whenever a Medicare recipient's health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home.

    Since the bill's intent is to reduce overall health care costs, it's logical to assume that care for seniors may be curtailed, Palin said.

    "It's all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform," she wrote.

    Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Gingrich, said Blumenauer was following a Democratic tactic of linking all Republicans to Palin.

    "Obviously Newt didn't embrace her euphemism of death panels. But he said to the larger point, there is a concern that people have about allowing government to be involved in these decisions," Tyler said. "She's raising a point we should discuss."

    Blumenauer said the measure he supports would merely allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. Topics include living wills, designating a close relative or a trusted friend as a health care proxy and information about pain medications for chronic discomfort.

    The measure would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option, Blumenauer said, calling references to death panels or euthanasia "mind-numbing."

    "It's a blatant lie, and everybody who has checked it agrees," he said.

    Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said this week that Palin and other critics were not helping the GOP by throwing out false claims.

    "Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology, because it absolutely isn't" in the bill, Murkowski said. "There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."

    Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who co-sponsored a similar measure in the Senate, said it was "nuts" to claim the bill encourages euthanasia.

    "You're putting the authority in the individual rather than the government," Isakson said. "I don't know how that got so mixed up."

    Blumenauer said the controversy was helping Democrats in a "perverse way."

    By continuing to spread a widely refuted claim, Republican critics are undercutting their own credibility, he said. The controversy has drawn more attention to the original proposal, which passed largely unnoticed when a health overhaul was approved by three House committees.

    "This has taken on an outsized significance and so more people are paying attention to it than ever before," Blumenauer said. "I think you will see more people use this to say, 'What will happen to me if I am in an accident? Here's what I want.' More people are going to take matters into their own hands."

    __________________________________________________ ______________




    Now, how can this be if there is no bill.
    And how did Palin know about it, but no one else did, until Wed Thurs last week??


    SPIN leftys SPIN!!
    Stan b & Elvis

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    RK,
    I don't understand your point. There is a bill. It had the payment to physicians for end-of-life counselling taken out. I think that is unfortunate, as many people are kept artificially alive on ventilators and dialysis, even after they're brain dead because of a lack of planning, and families don't want to be burdened with the decision to end prolonged suffering.

    Sarah herself even declared a day in 2008 "Medical Decision Day" or something like that, encouraging people to develop living wills and advanced directives. That's why I know that SHE knows better than to spin up this "death squad" talk. Pure exploitation of the elderly is what that is, and anyone who stands by and doesn't refute it, is guilty also. (I do understand why she would have concerns about being brain-dead, though.)
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    RK,
    I don't understand your point. There is a bill. It had the payment to physicians for end-of-life counselling taken out. I think that is unfortunate, as many people are kept artificially alive on ventilators and dialysis, even after they're brain dead because of a lack of planning, and families don't want to be burdened with the decision to end prolonged suffering.

    Sarah herself even declared a day in 2008 "Medical Decision Day" or something like that, encouraging people to develop living wills and advanced directives. That's why I know that SHE knows better than to spin up this "death squad" talk. Pure exploitation of the elderly is what that is, and anyone who stands by and doesn't refute it, is guilty also. (I do understand why she would have concerns about being brain-dead, though.)
    Well said, however don't underestimate the politics of fear that the neo-cons are so enamored of

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    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    RK,
    I don't understand your point. There is a bill. It had the payment to physicians for end-of-life counselling taken out. I think that is unfortunate, as many people are kept artificially alive on ventilators and dialysis, even after they're brain dead because of a lack of planning, and families don't want to be burdened with the decision to end prolonged suffering.

    Sarah herself even declared a day in 2008 "Medical Decision Day" or something like that, encouraging people to develop living wills and advanced directives. That's why I know that SHE knows better than to spin up this "death squad" talk. Pure exploitation of the elderly is what that is, and anyone who stands by and doesn't refute it, is guilty also. (I do understand why she would have concerns about being brain-dead, though.)
    My point is this is a mess, and no one knows what the hell is going on with this.
    Well, except Yardley.

    Slow down, measure twice, cut once.

    Why is that so hard for you secular progressives (in response to being called a neo-con) to grasp.

    If we are going to over haul 1/6 of our economy, shouldn't it be done pragmatically, one step at a time??

    So why is Rahm and "the Obama" in such a big hurry??
    Stan b & Elvis

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    My point is this is a mess, and no one knows what the hell is going on with this.
    Well, except Yardley.

    Slow down, measure twice, cut once.

    Why is that so hard for you secular progressives (in response to being called a neo-con) to grasp.

    If we are going to over haul 1/6 of our economy, shouldn't it be done pragmatically, one step at a time??

    So why is Rahm and "the Obama" in such a big hurry??
    I won't argue with you on that, RK. It does, however bring to mind a very interesting comparison:

    1) We have a reform bill before us (or in the making) that will affect many Americans, will cost trillions in the long run, and will likely affect us for generations to come.
    Obama has acknowledged it will cost tons of money, and is listening to the town halls, and seemingly has responded by conceding certain key points. Nonetheless, we are having a dialogue, debate, and consideration at the local levels, and in the halls of congress.

    2) We were facing war with Iraq that would affect many Americans, cost trillions of dollars in the log run, and will affect us for generations to come.
    Bush never acknowledged how much it would cost. Instead, he had Wolfowitz and Rummy saying how oil revenues would pay most, and tax payers would pay only around 2 billion. Bush NEVER listened to town halls, had debate, or allowed congress to advise and consent, before waging war.

    Both situations are being pushed at break-neck speed, with fears of disaster on an existential level if not passed soon. If Obama proceeded with this massive, critical agenda as Mr. Bush did, it would already be enacted on executive orders, without even congressional consideration!

    Interesting comparison, on a very similar scale of magnitude. What say ye?
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    I won't argue with you on that, RK. It does, however bring to mind a very interesting comparison:

    1) We have a reform bill before us (or in the making) that will affect many Americans, will cost trillions in the long run, and will likely affect us for generations to come.
    Obama has acknowledged it will cost tons of money, and is listening to the town halls, and seemingly has responded by conceding certain key points. Nonetheless, we are having a dialogue, debate, and consideration at the local levels, and in the halls of congress.

    2) We were facing war with Iraq that would affect many Americans, cost trillions of dollars in the log run, and will affect us for generations to come.
    Bush never acknowledged how much it would cost. Instead, he had Wolfowitz and Rummy saying how oil revenues would pay most, and tax payers would pay only around 2 billion. Bush NEVER listened to town halls, had debate, or allowed congress to advise and consent, before waging war.

    Both situations are being pushed at break-neck speed, with fears of disaster on an existential level if not passed soon. If Obama proceeded with this massive, critical agenda as Mr. Bush did, it would already be enacted on executive orders, without even congressional consideration!

    Interesting comparison, on a very similar scale of magnitude. What say ye?
    For arguments sake, let's say your analogy is accurate.

    Did we learn nothing from the Iraq war then??

    Just askin', using your logic............




    BTW--I got yelled at yesterday by some old hag (about 5 - 10 years younger than me).
    I am leaving the WI state fair playing AC/DC on my scooter stereo (the girls got rythym....), she yells at me to turn it down!!!


    Still wrestling with that maturity thing!!


    hoping this makes at least 1 person smile!!
    Last edited by road kill; 08-17-2009 at 03:35 PM.
    Stan b & Elvis

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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    For arguments sake, let's say your analogy is accurate.

    Did we learn nothing from the Iraq war then??

    Just askin', using your logic............




    BTW--I got yelled at yesterday by some old hag (about 5 - 10 years younger than me).
    I am leaving the WI state fair playing AC/DC on my scooter stereo (the girls got rythym....), she yells at me to turn it down!!!


    Still wrestling with that maturity thing!!


    hoping this makes at least 1 person smile!!

    Quit wrestling and just SUBMIT! Who wants to mature if you don't have to???

    As for the Iraq war vs. healthcare reform....I don't like grabbin my ankles for ANYBODY!
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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