Monday, January 3, 2011

Scandlen on American Style Death Panels

Greg Scandlen has a new blog up entitled, "Real Health Reform: Our Money, Our Health, Our Choice".

Here's his superb analysis on the 4-step approach to "Death Panels American-Style". The 4 key steps are:
1) Health information technology -- which doesn't save money, but does let the government know what doctors are doing.

2) Comparative effectiveness guideliens -- in which the government decides which treatments "work" and which treatments "don't work".

3) Practice incentives -- in which the government rewards doctors who follow those guidelines, and punishes those who don't.

4) End of life counseling -- in which the doctor denies care to patients.
As Scandlen notes, the end-of-life counseling is not the first step but the final step towards de facto death panels:
End-of-Life Counseling will pay physicians to deliver the bad news to the patient -- "I'm afraid your breast cancer is quite advanced and there isn't anything further we can do. How can I help you get your affairs in order?"

Now, notice the physician is not explaining there IS something that can be done, but the government decided to not pay for Avastin because it costs too much. Or any of the other life-enhancing treatments that would be available if not for federal intervention. No, Medicare would not pay the doctor to deliver this information because it might upset the patient.
We have been warned.

(Read the full text of "Death Panels American-Style" and check out the rest of Scandlen's blog as well. Link via IBD.)