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FACT CHECK: No "death panel" in Health Care Bill

Original post made by Billie, Mohr Park, on Aug 10, 2009

Just posted by the AP:

Web Link

As you can read in the weblink, covered every 5 years are "the conversations between doctor and patient (that) would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill, and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort."

As you're reading, please make note of the fact that hospitals are ALREADY mandated to ask adult patients if they have a living will, and "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."

End of life care is a very personal decision. I know that as a senior, I will appreciate the opportunity to discuss my options with my doctor and actually have my living will covered as part of my health care plan. So much more appropriate than going into it blind or not having the latest medical information, and then paying a lawyer to write it up.

One more bit of mis-information about health care reform debunked.

Comments (11)

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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm


Read this link: Web Link

I don't think even you can debunk that.

Furthermore, you wrote, "I know that as a senior, I will appreciate the opportunity to discuss my options with my doctor and actually have my living will covered as part of my health care plan."

If you are actually a senior I am highly suspicious that you don't already have a living will.

Besides there is NO provision in the existing Bill language that states the person with whom you make your 'end of life' decisions with will be a medical doctor.

In fact, I prefer the current policy to a change.

Like this comment
Posted by Law Student
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm

O.K. here is a senior citizen that has found out the true facts and YOU choose to carry on?

Like this comment
Posted by Really??
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm

You think awfully highly of yourself, "Law Student", don't you? As if I believe you actually are a law student and that somehow guarantees you some respect on a forum. I know, I'll call myself Lawyer and oppose everything you say - that should make people agree with me!

You are as ridiculous as your posts are. You use the same writing style as SEVERAL other posters. Shall I list ALL of your identities??

How pathetic that you have to hide behind the perception of someone who is in law school and one who just Googles things.

Ring, ring...

Who is it?

Life - get one.

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm


I'm 60, so I guess that makes me a senior. I have a living will. It's with my lawyer. I will be GLAD to update it and have it as part of my overall health care plan.

And your link is to another thread on this forum started by someone calling themself "Reality"; I should take all the comments on that thread as gospel??? Hmmmmm, I think not.

Like this comment
Posted by Really??
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I'm guessing from your writing style you're somewhere between 20 and 35 with a lot of time on your hands.

Keep seeing that psychiatrist. It will all work out in the end.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm

now now people...can we all just get along?

when I say ding ding ding, all you ole timers come out scratching...hahahahahahahahahahahaahahhahhahahahahaha...

age 67 here; my dear, you are not a senior until you are 65...wannabe...hmmmmmmmmm...

Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Is this the same "Really" who said I take up too much "important space on this forum - as well as I am sure oxygen in life"? BTW - on a thread I hadn't even posted comments on??

If so, it looks like you're the one pushing suicide or assisted suicide as an option for seniors, or is that just anyone who dares to disagree with your "position" on issues?

Although your modus operandi on this forum seems to be hit and run with condescending remarks that bring little to the discussion, as a senior with "time on my hands" right now, I'll tell you a bit about me.

I'm taking as a compliment your saying that I sound between 20 and 35. I strive to keep my mind young and active. However, I really am 60 and was lucky, or is that astute, enough to be able to retire at age 51 after 31+ years with Pacific Bell. So far I've been able to manage my retirement well enough that I haven't had to go back to work for a living. I live in the house I purchased 18 years ago after I moved to Pleasanton from Southern California. I am definitely lucky enough to be able to fill most of my time right now helping my daughter and my grandchildren.

I think it's a shame that politics in Pleasanton, as well as the commentary on this board, have taken such a turn towards nasty. This forum especially seems to have been widely taken over by posters who have found an outlet to vent their intolerance of other ideas, their racism and bigotry, and their personal attacks on posters who disagree with them. Personal attacks that have recently included threats of lynching. I wonder, without the blanket of anonymity, would you stand up in the middle of your neighborhood and say the same things you say so freely here?

And that's truly all I have to say on this subject. Take from it what you will.

Like this comment
Posted by Stay Cool
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Billie, thanks for the information you've provided re: "death panels."
Really's line of commentry only exposes his/her own lack of ability to engage in substantive debate. Please keep providing actual information - reasonable people ARE listening!

Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm

I've had several occasions where I had to write explanations to my private health care insurer to convince their panel of judges that care recommended by my doctor should be allowed. It was a pain in the butt and very frustrating. I was successful in two instances and unsuccessful in one instance. The unsuccessful instance was allowed a year later after another exam. My doctor and I could only guess that the panel membership had changed. I hate to think how similar situations would be handled by government bureaucrats. I would like to see small reforms enacted and tested on state levels to determine what works and what doesn't. I think this would be a much better long term solution to the debate on healthcare reform as opposed to the rush to change everything at once and hope for the best.

Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 11, 2009 at 6:58 am

Obama will name it differently. I call it a death sentence.

Web Link
August 11, 2009
'Death Panels' in Oregon?
Ethel C. Fenig
Perhaps former Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) was referring to the tragic predicament of Barbara Wagner of Oregon when she wrote how she feared for the fate of her Down Syndrome son under "Obama's 'Death Panels.' "

Susan Donaldson James of ABC News reports on the letter Ms. Wagner received from the Oregon Health Plan in response to a $4000 a month drug her doctor prescribed after her lung cancer, long in remission, returned..

the insurance company refused to pay.

What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

Hmmmm, let's do the math. Yep, a one time prescription of $50 sure is cheaper than $4000 a month for who knows how many months to keep a 64 year old woman alive. So the Oregon "Death Panel" graciously offered suicide pills. Or doctor assisted murder.

But Ms. Wagner had an understandably different reaction.

"It was horrible," Wagner told "I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won't give you the medication to live."

Ah, but Ms. Wagner wanted to live. And she didn't care what the Oregon "Death Panel" - uhm, Oregon Health Plan decided. And her situation is not unique.

But a 1998 study from Georgetown University's Center for Clinical Bioethics found a strong link between cost-cutting pressures on physicians and their willingness to prescribe lethal drugs to patients -- were it legal to do so.

The study warns that there must be "a sobering degree of caution in legalizing [assisted death] in a medical care environment that is characterized by increasing pressure on physicians to control the cost of care."

Cancer drugs can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 a month. The cost of lethal medication, on the other hand, is about $35 to $50.

So Sarah Palin's "death panels" aren't as quite off the mark as those afflicted by Palin Derangement Syndrome and mocking her seem to think. Apparently they're called Centers for Bioethics and people are sincerely grappling with these issues. The issues are deep, the problems are complex. And alas there are no easy answers. But let's keep the Barbara Wagners in mind. For one day, a loved one may be in the same predicament. Or you.

Like this comment
Posted by Fact Check
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:02 am

Pleas link to the source of the above.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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