My last post — Scripting “the Conversation” — discussed scripted dialogue at the national level. It demonstrated how a few academics, so-called health policy experts, special interest groups, and foundations can stage a national dialogue — frame a conversation — with the help of their media allies.
They’re at it again. NPR hosted another sham debate. On the left we have Ira Byock, hospice and palliative care advocate; and on the far left we have Compassion & Choices, the radical pro-assisted suicide/euthanasia group.
They are debating a subject that no one would have noticed if it weren’t for well-coordinated media hype from MSNBC, People Magazine and the like.
This is a staged “dialogue” on assisted suicide. Compassion & Choices presents the thesis (assisted suicide should be legal), then Ira Byock comes in with a straw man antithesis (traditional medicine will let you suffer) and then the synthesis: palliative care.
Last month I wrote about the Lobby Day hosted by the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) and American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN). The Coalition invited representatives of a variety of non-profits and professional organizations to Capitol Hill to lobby for two pieces of legislation:
The bills (H.R. 1339 / S. 641; and H.R. 1666) would authorize (to start) roughly $300 million for advertising to the public, training navigators, educating health professionals, establishing a national supervisory board, and promoting research, all with the goal of replacing standard care with palliative care (symptom treatment and hospice) for sick people, in lieu of costly life-saving treatments.
Veteran lobbyist Dick Woodruff explained why the urgency: “Because these people who have these illnesses . . . are the ones who are driving healthcare costs more than anybody else . . if we can figure out a way to manage their care, we can make life better for them, but then save the system money. . . . [These bills] could have major returns over the next 25-45 years.” [my emphasis]