Recent commentary on health care reform in various media outlets is rife with gross — and even cruel — distortions.
Opponents of health care reform are spreading the ridiculous falsehood that through end-of-life counseling sessions the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning.
Knowledgeable sources provide the facts to dispel the rumors:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, (D, OR), Huffington Post, July 24th, 2009:
“Those with no solutions and no answers for how to reform our health care system are hijacking positive, bipartisan efforts that have contributed to a strong bill passed out of two House committees. Republican leadership has abandoned all efforts at passing needed health care reform — even turning their attacks to legislation that has been actively crafted and supported by both parties.”
“This bill has bipartisan support (the main cosponsor is a Republican doctor) as well as support from a diverse coalition like AARP, the American College of Physicians, and Catholic health systems. It is an area where — no matter from a red or blue state — many have been able to bridge the divide.”
President Obama, speaking at an AARP Town Hall, July 28, 2009:
“The idea there is to simply make sure that a living will process is easier for people — it doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer or to take up a lot of time. But everything is going to be up to you.
And if you don’t want to fill out a living will, you don’t have to. But it’s actually a useful tool I think for a lot of families to make sure that if, heaven forbid, you contract a terminal illness, that you are somebody who is able to control this process in a dignified way that is true to your faith and true to how you think that end-of-life process should proceed. You don’t want somebody else making those decisions for you. So I actually think it’s a good idea to have a living will. I’d encourage everybody to get one. I have one. Michelle has one. And we hope we don’t have to use it for a long time, but I think it’s something that is sensible.”
“The intent here is to simply make sure that you’ve got more information, and that Medicare will pay for it.”
“So if Medicare is saying you have the option of consulting with somebody about hospice care, and we will reimburse it, that’s putting more power, more choice in the hands of the American people, and it strikes me that that’s a sensible thing to do.”
AARP Executive Vice President John Rother, in response to recent commentary by Betsy McCaughey in various media outlets:
“Betsy McCaughey’s recent commentary on health care reform in various media outlets is rife with gross—and even cruel—distortions.”
“The main opponents of this research are those groups with a vested interest in a health care system that wastes billions of dollars each year on ineffective or unnecessary drugs, treatments or tests. Given Ms. McCaughey’s position as a Director of a medical device producer, I would hope that any potential conflict of interest has not influenced her commentary.”
“Facing a terminal disease or debilitating accident, some people will choose to take every possible life-saving measure in the hopes that treatment or even a cure will allow them more time with their families. Others will decide that additional treatment would impose too great a burden—emotional, physical and otherwise—on themselves and their families, declining extraordinary measures and instead choosing care to manage their discomfort. Either way, it should be their choice.”
Catharine Richert, Politifact, Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 7:02 p.m.
“McCaughey incorrectly states that the bill would require Medicare patients to have these counseling sessions and she is suggesting that the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. And her claim that the sessions would “tell [seniors] how to end their life sooner” is an outright distortion. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning. McCaughey isn’t just wrong, she’s spreading a ridiculous falsehood. That’s a Pants on Fire.”
Read the Press Release from Compassion & Choices >>