Thanks to Mark Levin for his plain-language critique last week of the proposed CMS payment codes for (endless) end-of-life conversations. Levin speaks for many elderly, sick and vulnerable patients and their families who are being pressured into “letting go,” and this even without government-paid end-of-life talks.
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.
The same group of academics and foundations have been at work on the micro level, generating scripts — literally word-for-word scripts — to be used by providers when they encounter difficult situations with patients and families, mostly in the context of patients and families who want life-sustaining treatment. Continue reading
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]
I smell quid pro quo.
Two events occurred on May 21.
The Los Angeles Times reported the fact that the Obama administration (aka, Big Government) has cut a deal with AHIP (Big Insurance). (hat tip Matt Drudge, who picked up the story.)
In exchange for holding down premium increases next year, the administration has promised the insurance industry a bailout worth billions of taxpayer dollars if the insurance companies lose money in the process. The bailout is hidden in regulations that were issued a little over a week ago. Continue reading
Here is more evidence. Continue reading