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Bi-Partisan Criticism Busts Myths About End of Life Care

Posted on by Karina

Some health insurance reform opponents have tried to spread myths about the end of life provisions of America's Affordable Health Choices Act. The facts continue to disprove the myths. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has introduced similar provisions in the Senate, said:

How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as [euthanasia] is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government… It empowers you to be able to make decisions at a difficult time rather than having the government making them for you.

…The problem you got is that there’s so much swirling around about health care and people are taking bits and pieces out of this. This was thoroughly debated in the Senate committee. It’s voluntary. Every state in America has an end of life directive or durable power of attorney provision…

The Associated Press also does a fact check:

FACT CHECK: No ‘death panel’ in health care bill

Q: Does the health care legislation bill promote “mercy killing,” or euthanasia?

A: No.

Q: Does the bill advocate assisted suicide?

A: No. It would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.

Q: Should the federal government be getting involved with living wills and end-of-life questions — decisions that are highly personal and really difficult?

A: It already is.

The government requires hospitals to ask adult patients if they have a living will, or “advance directive.” If the patient doesn’t have one, and wants one, the hospital has to provide assistance. The mandate on hospitals was instituted during a Republican administration, in 1992, under President George H.W. Bush.

Republicans, news outlets and independent organizations such as the AARP are criticizing opponents' scare tactics, debunked their claims and lauded the bill's provision.

Learn more:

Read a blog post by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), sponsor of the provision, entitled Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care>>

Read Rep. Blumenauer’s Myths vs Facts page>>

Watch Melody Barnes, the President’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council, debunk the myth on whitehouse.gov>>

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