President Donald Trump’s likely choice to lead the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation could wind up sparking a volatile debate about end-of-life care, the Washington Examiner is reporting.
Brad Smith co-founded Nashville-based Aspire Health, according to the Examiner. The company, using algorithms to identify patients with serious medical conditions, offers services to those who were considered likely to die. It helps those who don’t want intensive care to get palliative care.
"These (type of) programs really work to understand people's goals" said Douglas McCarthy, senior researcher at the Commonwealth Fund. “Some people want more aggressive treatment and others don't.”
But Arthur Caplan, medical ethicist at NYU School of Medicine, said: “One thing is for certain: I don't know which side of the aisle it will crop up on, but there will be talk of 'death panels.’ You can't talk about algorithms without getting some legislators nervous that what you're doing isn't assisting patients in better choices, but mandating their death or nudging them to choose to end their lives and save money for the healthcare system."
Filling the post at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) does not require Senate confirmation. The CMMI is responsible for testing different ways of paying for medical care as a way to lower spending and help patient’s quality of life, the Examiner noted.
And Caplan noted some conservative groups could push back if Smith is selected.
"In the current climate of trying to drive down cost, it will be seen as potentially dangerous to have that person at the head of the innovation program for the elderly," Caplan said.
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