Finally, Sarah Palin’s death panels are here. Of course they aren’t death panels. No one is determining that someone should die, and we haven’t yet heard from the “quitta’ from Wasilla” who coined the phrase, but her head is sure to explode. Medicare will now cover end of life counseling.
While that might sound scary (if you have the IQ of the former Governor of Alaska), end of life counseling is actually very common sensical, and it’s entirely voluntary for patients. Essentially, doctors will take the time to sit down with their elderly patients and help them make plans, like what kind of lifesaving measures they might want and who they would like to make decisions for them if they aren’t able.
Hell, all of us should have that, right? While that was part of the Affordable Care Act in the beginning, Palin’s politicization, which resulted in wall to wall Fox coverage and Tea Party protests, delayed it until now.
Her death panel lie was Politifact’s lie of the year in 2009 but it was so pernicious that Americans really did believe that the Affordable Care Act included panels of people that decide whether someone gets health care or not (that would be insurance companies).
Ironically, when Palin was Governor of Alaska, just before she started the nationwide “death panel” panic, she signed a proclamation recognizing healthcare decision day in Alaska, which advised people to sign healthcare directives.
There’s good reason. According to the AARP:
“Published, peer‐reviewed research shows that ACP [advance care planning] leads to better care, higher patient and family satisfaction, fewer unwanted hospitalizations, and lower rates of caregiver distress, depression and lost productivity,” the organization wrote. “ACP is particularly important for Medicare beneficiaries because many have multiple chronic illnesses, receive care at home from family and other caregivers, and their children and other family members are often involved in making medical decisions.”
Source: Huffington Post
The policy was just proposed on Wednesday and while some doctors and some insurance companies are already providing the service for free, there is a public comment period on the regulation before it takes full effect. The comment period closes on September 8th.
Featured image via Flickr.com.