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Obama Pulls Plug on Elderly End-of-Life Counseling

When you get to this point you are on your own as insurers pick your wallet. (photo: Pickersgill Reef via Flickr)

Proving once again that he may be the most cowardly President ever to occupy the White House, President Obama ordered the folks writing the regulations that would have compensated doctors for providing voluntary end-of-life counseling if requested by their patients to delete that regulation. From the New York Times:

The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday.

The move is an abrupt shift, coming just days after the new policy took effect on Jan. 1.

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.

The excuse the White House gave for this capitulation to the unscrupulous right wing propagandists — meaning every conservative columnist and political hack who ceaselessly misrepresented the rule — is incoherent, a clear sign of lack of principle and political courage. Notice it’s from another anonymous White House official.

An administration official, authorized by the White House to explain the mix-up, said Tuesday, “We realize that this should have been included in the proposed rule, so more people could have commented on it specifically.”

“We will amend the regulation to take out voluntary advance care planning,” the official said.

Worse, the White House blamed their reversal on Donald Berwick, the man Obama chose and the White House trumpeted to bring humane, rational administration to Medicare. “He didn’t tell us what he was doing,” the White House seems to be saying, “so it’s not our fault he did the right thing.” Pay attention, Liz Warren; watch your back.  [cont’d.]

Why should anyone ever believe this White House? Remember, this is from the same President Obama who just last month promised us “okay, I caved on extending tax breaks for the wealthiest this time, but gosh darn it, just wait until 2012, and I’ll be really tough.”

No, he won’t. He’s a coward and cannot be trusted to keep promises to the American people. When this man is done, the entire New Deal and dozens of humane, progressive principles and programs will have been compromised or crippled. He’s not a Democrat.

One term and out.

John Chandley

CommunityMy FDL

Obama Pulls Plug on Elderly End-of-Life Counseling

When you get to this point you are on your own as insurers pick your wallet. (photo: Pickersgill Reef via Flickr)

Proving once again that he may be the most cowardly President ever to occupy the White House, President Obama ordered the folks writing the regulations that would have compensated doctors for providing voluntary end-of-life counseling if requested by their patients to delete that regulation. From the New York Times:

The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday.

The move is an abrupt shift, coming just days after the new policy took effect on Jan. 1.

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.

The excuse the White House gave for this capitulation to the unscrupulous right wing propagandists — meaning every conservative columnist and political hack who ceaselessly misrepresented the rule — is incoherent, a clear sign of lack of principle and political courage. Notice it’s from another anonymous White House official.

An administration official, authorized by the White House to explain the mix-up, said Tuesday, “We realize that this should have been included in the proposed rule, so more people could have commented on it specifically.”

“We will amend the regulation to take out voluntary advance care planning,” the official said.

Worse, the White House blamed their reversal on Donald Berwick, the man Obama chose and the White House trumpeted to bring humane, rational administration to Medicare. “He didn’t tell us what he was doing,” the White House seems to be saying, “so it’s not our fault he did the right thing.” Pay attention, Liz Warren; watch your back.

Why should anyone ever believe this White House? Remember, this is from the same President Obama who just last month promised us “okay, I caved on extending tax breaks for the wealthiest this time, but gosh darn it, just wait until 2012, and I’ll be really tough.”

No, he won’t. He’s a coward and cannot be trusted to keep promises to the American people. When this man is done, the entire New Deal and dozens of humane, progressive principles and programs will have been compromised or crippled. He’s not a Democrat.

One term and out.

John Chandley

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley