Further Fact Checking of False Conservative Claims on End of Life Decisions

For the conservative misinformation campaign turns out to be counterproductive, as discussed in the previous post, it is necessary for the actual facts to get out. Fortunately there has been a lot of debunking of the right wing misinformation in the media. I gave previous examples of fact checking here and here, with more appearing.

It is no surprise to see Keith Olbermann debunk the right wing misinformation but it is more helpful when the mainstream news broadcasts also present the truth.  ABC News has addressed the claims about euthanasia (video available here):

“Right now it seems there is an intentional effort to distort what’s in the legislation and that’s confusing the public debate,” AARP executive vice president of policy John Rother said.

At issue is a 10-page section of a 1,000-page House health care reform bill on “advanced care planning consultations.”

These consultations would reimburse a doctor for talking with a patient once every five years about what kind of care they want near the end of life.

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, called this “downright evil,” and asserted the elderly would have to stand in front of a “death panel so [President Obama’s] bureaucrats can decide … whether they are worthy of health care.”

So what are the facts?

The provision would create no such panel. It calls only for a “consultation between the individual and a practitioner.”

The story discussed how the misinformation began and then looked at the facts:

In fact, the intent of the measure is not for doctors to tell patients what to do, but to give doctors more incentives to talk to patients about all of their options.

Opponents of the House bill argue that any focus on cost-cutting will push people toward decisions to limit care.

“There should never be any doubt as to whether your end-of-life decisions are influenced by its affect on the United States Treasury,” said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich.

But proponents of this measure — and there are Republicans among them — say that’s a false argument because these are patient-driven consultations. They would be available to anyone but not mandatory, and patients would dictate what they want done, not the cost of the procedures.

Two dozen physicians were interviewed by ABC News’ medical unit, and each said these kinds of consultations help families and they are happening already. This provision, they say, would only make them more widespread.

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