A provision in the House version of the health reform law would have allowed Medicare to pay for patient discussions with their doctors about how much or little care they want when facing a terminal illness, offering beneficiaries a chance to learn about things like advance directives, palliative care and hospice care.
According to Senior Journal, officials cited a lack of a public commenting period as the purpose behind the reversal. On the other hand, some critics believe the Obama administration is simply avoiding a touchy subject (i.e. the discussion of “death panels") at a time where every move it makes regarding health reform may have the effect of propagating even more uncertainty.
“It remains legal for doctors to talk with patients during the annual Medicare visits [about end-of –life counseling]; it's just that they can't be specifically paid for that discussion,” explained Senior Journal in its recent article.
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