LifeNews, the pro-life community website, agrees that Obamacare gives doctors the incentive to promote euthanasia.
To hear backers of the government-run health care bill tell the story, pro-life advocates are making up wild-eyed claims about how the measure will push euthanasia. However, one leading bioethicist and a Washington Post Editorial Writer say the bill does give doctors financial incentive to push it.
At issue is Section 1233 of HR 3200, the government-run health care plan that the House will consider when it returns from its August recess.
The measure would pay physicians to give Medicare patients end-of-life counseling every five years or sooner if the patient has a terminal diagnosis.
While pro-life advocates say the section opens the door to physicians pushing euthanasia or withdrawal of lifesaving medical treatment, or even basic food and water, backers of the bill call the claims rubbish.
Charles Lane, an member of the editorial board of the liberal Washington Post newspaper, admits in a Saturday column that at least some of the concerns are well-founded.
“As I read it, Section 1233 is not totally innocuous,” Lane writes, adding that it “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.”
“Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite ‘purely voluntary,'” as backers of the bill assert, Lane adds. “To me, ‘purely voluntary’ means ‘not unless the patient requests one.’ Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive — money — to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.
“Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit ‘formulation’ of a plug-pulling order right then and there,” Lane explains.
“What’s more, Section 1233 dictates, at some length, the content of the consultation,” Lane continues.
He points out the legislation says the doctor “shall” discuss “advanced care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to”; “an explanation of . . . living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses” even though those are legal and not medical papers. The physician “shall” present “a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families.”
“Admittedly, this script is vague and possibly unenforceable,” Lane writes. “What are “key questions”? Who belongs on ‘a list’ of helpful ‘resources?’ The Roman Catholic Church? Jack Kevorkian?”
Ultimately, the Post editorial writer says “Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party — the government — recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations.”
“You don’t have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach,” he concludes.