WASHINGTON— A new health regulation issued this month offers elderly Medicare health insurance recipients voluntary end-of-life planning – the practice that former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likened to “death panels” during the debate over Obamacare. Democrats had dropped it from the monumental healthcare overhaul, according to Fox News
, but the Obama administration has written it back in.
The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death. The "voluntary advance care planning" is included in a Medicare regulation issued Dec. 3 that covers annual checkups, known as wellness visits. It goes into effect Jan. 1.
The new regulations were first reported by The New York Times. When House Democrats proposed last year to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, it touched off a wave of suspicion and anger. Opponents said end-of-life planning should be left to families, while proponents said doctors' advice was a basic element of healthcare.
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