Health Care

Senate to Drop End-of-Life Provision?

Sarah Palin may have pulled her “death panel” charge out of thin air, but she seems to have won the day anyhow: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate Finance Committee, which is crafting the only bipartisan health-care overhaul bill in Congress, will drop the “end-of-life” provision. The measure would have required Medicare to pay physicians to counsel patients on end-of-life decisions, like living wills and hospice, once every five years. The sessions would have been entirely optional for the patients. The hope was that it would generate some savings: The 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who die each year account for 27.4 percent of total Medicare spending. The measure was dropped after the top Republican on the finance committee, Chuck Grassley, endorsed the death-panel rumors, telling his constituents “you have every right to fear.”