On Friday, Clint had an excellent roundup of the rightwing idiocy designed to destroy any chance at health care reform. Unfortunately their idiocy is having an effect.
According to Republican Senator – and Glenn Beck fan – Chuck Grassley, the Senate has dropped end of life counseling from their proposed bill. This was in response to completely baseless and hypocritical fearmongering about how these counseling sessions were “death panels” deciding who lived and died based on their value to society. The truth is that end of life counseling is a valuable tool that empowers patients:
The proposed legislation requires that Medicare compensate physicians for their time talking with patients about advance care planning – in effect, their goals and values, treatment preferences and who they would want to speak on their behalf if they cannot make decisions for themselves. It provides incentives for physicians to become more skilled in end-of-life care and encourages palliative care programs for patients needing and wanting those services.
All of this is voluntary, not mandated.
This legislation would not be wasted. In a telephone survey sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation in 2006, 67 percent of Californians would want to die at home, yet only 27 percent actually do. Eight out of 10 people say it is “very” or “somewhat” important to write down their end-of-life wishes, but only 36 percent actually have written instructions.
All that has been scrapped for nothing in return. Removing end of life counseling from the bill won’t bring any Republicans to the side of health care reform. After all, they weren’t opposed to end of life sessions in the first place, they were opposed to Death Panels which weren’t actually in the bill. It’s like we bargained away fire departments because someone thought they were designed to start fires, instead of putting them out.
So what do you do with these people? You ignore them. They can’t be compromised with, because they don’t want compromise. They want the Democratic agenda to fail, regardless of specific policy or the consequences.