Politicians or other government leader who are against Medicare providing an incentive for physicians to propose a voluntary discussion about their patients’ wishes for end-of-life care don’t care about patients. Our leaders are afraid to admit that commitments made to the 80 million baby boomers entering the Medicare system starting this coming year cannot be met without destroying our global competitiveness. But we can begin to acknowledge reality by considering the patients’ personal religious and moral desires regarding the extent and kind of resources they wish to be deployed by the medical-industrial complex as they near the end of their life.
It is inhumane to facilitate a system that often expends far more resources than would be consistent with a patient’s wishes for extending their lives. Anyone who has had a parents’ “life” extended without consideration of their parents’ wishes knows that the system is not set up to deliver anything less than the “maximum level of care” paid for by Medicare benefits. It is a moral outrage for our society to tax its young people to support paying for life-extending invasive care provided to older people that can exceed the desires of the very people whose lives are being extended.
This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral and religious imperative that our public funds devoted to health care are for services that are within the desires of the patients. Patients may wish to have more “heroic” measures deployed to extend their lives than their next of kin; Denying an incentive for physicians to help patients understand their options makes it unlikely that the patients wishes can be respected. Any honest public leader confronting the demographics of the baby-boom on Medicare should support the system being structured to determine and implement a patient’s wishes for care at the end of their lives.
- Surprise! End-of-life advisory incentives return – through regulation (hotair.com)
- NYT: Obama enacts end-of-life plan that drew fire (msnbc.msn.com)
- Medicare to include end-of-life planning (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Medicare Will Pay for End-of-Life Talks (online.wsj.com)