Thursday, January 06, 2011

Inmates running the asylum

I see the Administration is too cowardly include payment to doctors for discussing end of life care with their patients in new Medicare rules. Proposed regulations would have included this as an option in the new annual physicals.

Sure, it's an unpleasant subject; we all wish we didn't have to die. But we do. Adults, usually, like to have grown-up conversations with the people who'll take over the management of their bodies in their last days. Doctors like to get paid for spending time explaining all the extreme things they can do to keep failing bodies around a little longer; substantial numbers of people decide they don't want to be turned into mess of a mechanically supported bodily functions on the way out. They prefer to go out as themselves, not as a longevity experiment. They are not going to have the chance to make these decisions if medical personnel don't talk with them about the possibilities.

But a bunch of scaremongering Republican science deniers can't abide the idea of the government paying for these conversations. They play to the child in all of us who believes "I'm different... I don't have to think about dying." And, as with so many other sensible measures, the Obama people preemptively roll over and play dead themselves. They haven't yet learned apparently that appeasing cynical (or stupid) people who are gleefully manipulating our human immaturity wins them nothing but the contempt of their friends.

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