"A Daily Dose of Truth" (#5): Making end-of-life decisions
Truth is witness to the whole. One short sound-bite taken out of context -- even if it's a fact -- does not necessarily represent the whole truth. We denounce the use of such sound-bites (from any party!) when they are intended to pervert truth for electoral gain. In the end, we acknowledge that a manipulation of facts to frighten and confuse vulnerable populations is just plain immoral.
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Since the beginning of doctor-patient relationships, doctors have consulted with families about treatment and care for patients who are faced with end-of-life decisions. Clergy are often involved in these conversations, as well as attorneys, because families struggle with heart-wrenching medical and moral decisions when medical treatment can no longer contribute to quality of life and human dignity. Further, the recommendation that all patients have living wills or advanced health care directives have left patients and families with questions that are best addressed by their doctors and other professionals.
Medicare benefits do not include payment for the time physicians spend in such consultations. With the limits imposed on many doctors for how much time they can actually spend with us, a provision to provide an “advance care planning consultation” was included in health care reform to compensate physicians for these conversations with Medicare enrollees.
However, after the August 2009 furor over “death panels,” as these doctor-patient conversations were labeled by the opposition, the provision was dropped.
Health care reform was passed without this change to Medicare benefits. But most of us, not just Medicare beneficiaries, will continue to seek the counsel of our physicians as we make our own choices about the final days of our lives – while we still have the capacity to make such decisions for ourselves. And physicians will continue to consult with us because of their commitment to health, wholeness, and human dignity for their patients.
For more information:
FactCheck – False Euthanasia Claims
PolitiFact – PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: Death Panels
A Daily Dose of Truth Online
#1: Medicare in Health Care Reform
#2: Health Care Reform and Home Sales
#3: The Requirement to Buy Insurance in Health Care Reform
#4: There's a Lot to Like in Health Care Reform
#5: Making end-of-life decisions
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About "A Daily Dose of Truth"
Reports of the last few days indicate that the attack on health care reform will continue and, in all probability, escalate in the final days of this mid-term electoral season. Why? Because polls show that attack ads work -- even if they are not completely true or, worse, false. Shame on us!
As people of faith -- trusted messengers -- it's our turn! With fewer financial resources, but with relationships that reach into the depth and breadth of our communities, it is our job to transcend partisan politics and economic self-interests, and to be the truth-tellers in support of a compassionate health care future with a system that includes and works well for all of us.
We begin with the declaration that "truth is witness to the whole." We know that one short sound-bite taken out of context -- even if it's a fact -- does not necessarily represent the whole truth. We denounce the use of such sound-bites (from any party!) when they are intended to pervert truth for electoral gain. In the end, we acknowledge that a manipulation of facts to frighten and confuse vulnerable populations is just plain immoral.
We can change what's happening, but it means each of us must be willing to share the TRUTH when we hear it. We can and must make a difference because health care is, first and foremost, a people issue that should not be relegated to the caverns of political ideologies. In sharing TRUTH, we are not supporting one candidate over another. We are simply making sure that people make their choices based on truth that witnesses to the whole -- not on distorted perceptions based on mis-represented facts.
"A Daily Dose of Truth" will arrive in your email almost daily to help you compare what you are hearing to the real TRUTH in the Affordable Care Act. Please help spread the message to the far reaches of our country -- via viral email, Facebook, telephone calls, chats with neighbors, and discussions in your communities of faith. Help us counter what is touted as true (with a little "t") with what is actually the TRUTH!
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