August 11, 2015

Advocacy Blogger Does Not Understand “Death Panel”

This blog author would like us to believe that the death panel discussion is over and that all it took was a change in 'end of life discussions' that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is now set to reimburse doctors for now. He seems to conveniently forget that it was never about end-of-life palliative care. It was, and remains, about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), its power, and its non-accountability.

Sorry, I am on a rant, but I really don't like this discussion by Bob Doherty of the
The ACP Advocate Blog. He is a Washington insider and obviously needs to protect some people in his advocating. In comments to his blog here, all are agreeing with him, but when another publication picked his blog to write about, the comments are basically my thoughts from the last sentence in the first paragraph.

I attempted to put my comment on his blog, but after four days, I know it will not be published because he controls the comments like I do. I can agree with several statements in his blog, and especially this - “Advance care planning allows a person with decision-making capacity to develop and indicate preferences for care and choose a surrogate to act on his or her behalf in the event that he or she cannot make health care decisions.”

I don't agree that the death panel was ever about discussing advance care planning with their patients, physicians would then pressure patients to give up on treatment and end their lives. It has always been about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), it's power, and it's non-accountability. The IPAB would not answer to anyone and could make recommendations without having to worry about any ramifications or even lawsuits. This was what was correctly labeled as the “death panel.”

Recently the House of Representatives passed a bill to prevent the IPAB from existing, but the Senate has refused to discuss this and not even allowed it to be assigned to a committee, thanks to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.

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