Republican sloganeering wins again. The Obama administration is caving on Medicare regulations that provide for coverage of end-of-life counseling as part of annual physical exams.
Many doctors and providers of hospice care had praised the regulation, which listed “advance care planning” as one of the services that could be offered in the “annual wellness visit” for Medicare beneficiaries.
While administration officials cited procedural reasons for changing the rule, it was clear that political concerns were also a factor. The renewed debate over advance care planning threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House.
People may still discuss these issues voluntarily with their doctors. Until the wingnuts make that illegal and force us all to indeterminate sentences on ventilators and other machines.