Probably nothing causes members of
Still, there are several representatives from both parties who want to discuss it.
Since 2009, Rep.
Even though this might be the same policy
There’s been some support for Blumenauer’s bill from across the aisle. One of the cosponsors, Rep.
According to Politico, they make the common-sense argument that the bill doesn't force a patient to pursue a particular end-of-life treatment:
Both lawmakers noted that an advanced directive doesn't mean a do-not-resuscitate order. People can and do opt for very aggressive do-everything care.
In many ways, the bill is a very moderate approach. After all, it doesn’t even mandate that all Medicare subscribers have an advanced directive, something the
The problem with Blumenauer's legislation isn't that it goes too far. It's that it doesn't go nearly far enough. Blumenauer's bill would reimburse doctors in the event that their patients want to schedule a visit to discuss end-of-life-care. But everyone on Medicare should have their end-of-life preferences clearly spelled out.
Instead, the bill simply requires that Medicare cover the consultation in the same way other (more expensive) medical procedures are covered. Here's his argument:
Blumenauer notes that Medicare will pay doctors, hospitals and rehab centers tens of thousands of dollars for a terminally ill 90-year-old to get a hip replacement. But it won't pay a couple hundred bucks for a conversation about other dimensions of that terminal illness.
For legislators still worried about political fallout, they should look at public opinion on the subject. According to a National Journal survey in 2011, “78 percent said that
Though the results also show that 23% inaccurately conflate healthcare reform with death panels, it should be a fairly easy obstacle to surmount because, at its core, Blumenauer's legislation is about giving patients more choice rather than stripping them of it. And at a time when trust in government is low, that's a highly popular idea.
Follow Daniel Rothberg on Twitter: @danielrothberg