Move marks a turning point after a similar proposal was dropped from the Affordable Care Act
The federal government will pay doctors who speak with patients about the type of medical care they want when they are near death, a turning point after a similar proposal six years ago ran into opposition and was stripped from what became the Affordable Care Act.
The rule announced Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will reimburse, starting Jan. 1, health-care providers if they choose to have conversations with Medicare patients about advance care planning—also known as end-of-life discussions. The decision affects about 50 million beneficiaries and could ripple through the health-care industry. Private insurers often follow payment practices adopted by Medicare, the national insurance program for seniors and the disabled.
Efforts to provide compensation to doctors who hold such consultations was opposed in 2009 by mostly Republican opponents of the health-care overhaul, who said the law would lead to “death panels” tasked with seeking out cost savings by rationing care. A provision to pay physicians for such end-of-life counseling was stripped from the final bill.
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Euthanasia scene from the movie 'Soylent Green'.
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But the rule, proposed in July, hasn’t triggered the same backlash as before. Since 2010, legislation that would allow reimbursements to physicians for advance planning discussions has gained bipartisan support and backing from hospice and physician groups. Some private insurers already have begun paying providers for the discussions, as have a handful of state Medicaid programs.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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