End-of-Life Care is Losing to Lies

Here is some of the current worst news on health reform:

The Senate Finance Committee’s health care plan will not include provisions dealing with end-of-life care, now one of the more controversial topics in the health care debate, the committee’s top Republican said on Wednesday.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said in a statement that the committee “dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

If anyone knows misinterpretation, it’s Senator Grassley. He’s the originator of such enlightened parting phrases as the one he tossed out at an Iowa meeting Wednesday, about not wanting a health plan “that will pull the plug on grandma.” There is, of course, no grain of truth in that phrase, but its repetition does exactly what Sen. Grassley and his ilk wish: whip the opposition to any real reform into an emotional, unthinking frenzy. And they are winning the war against reason one battle at a time.

A Senate Finance Committee aide confirmed that the panel was not discussing end-of-life measures, adding that they were “never a major focus” of the committee’s negotiations.

House committees have passed legislation that would provide Medicare coverage for optional counseling sessions on end-of-life services.

But as people like Senator Grassley, and former N.Y. Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey who sought fame and perhaps fortune by starting this whole flap, keep the country inflamed with misinformation the chances of decent legislation rising from these ashes grow dim.

The hopeless optimists of the land continue to believe that calls and letters and e-mails of sanity will convince our legislators that the country will rally around a decent bill… but Mr. Grassley and Ms. McCaughey are making optimism difficult.

via Senate Bill Will Not Address End-of-Life Care – Prescriptions Blog – NYTimes.com.


  1. Those are very good questions, Andy, especially that last; I wonder if a lot of rational people aren’t having nausea issues in private after watching Mr. Grassley do his thing. But you are right: the real issue is that we have GOT to have health coverage for everyone. The end-of-life conversations issue, vitally important and unfortunately now hopelessly distorted, has been seized upon as an easy smokescreen. Unless we keep encouraging people to use their brains, brainless opposition may sink this critically needed reform.

  2. Is it just me or is all of this stifling debate about end-of-life care just a complete canard?

    The substantive issue about healtcare reform is that so many people dont have any health insurance! and those that do get denied when they get sick! and many of us feel trapped in jobs because we need the health insurance…

    Why aren’t these issues which affect so many people in such severe ways, at the forefront of this debate? How do the insurance companies always get the spotlight taken from the misery and suffering they’ve created for so many millions of American Citizens? Why hasn’t someone thrown up on UpChuck Grassley?

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