Sen. Grassley & Republicans Attack Hospice Care

In response to wild rumors of “death panels” and other distortions,  Republicans have forced a minor provision out of the proposed legislation to reform health care coverage in the U.S. That provision was designed to authorize payment for counseling services to help seriously ill and aged sort through questions that face them upon checking into a medical facility.

Sen. Charles Grassley

Sen. Charles Grassley

Anybody who has been hospitalized in the last four or five years has seen, among the pages of crap you have to sign, questions about “extraordinary medical procedures” and suggestions about a “living will.” These very terms can be confusing and scary for older folks (my mom is 98). If there is a knowledgeable family member on hand, whom the patient trusts, these are not a big problem. However, many of our seniors are alone when a medical emergency occurs. The nurses doing the admission don’t have the time, or the training, to go over all these issues and are cautioned against giving patients any advice.

The stricken provision was to authorize payment for counselors trained to explain these issues and to consult with the patient, and any available family members or significant others, on how to make and implement a decision.

Here is a direct quote from Sen. Grassley, appearing at a public gathering yesterday (August 11, 2009) in his home stae of Iowa:

There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life,” Grassley said. “And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life. [emphasis added]

How does this impact hospice care, you ask? Well, a great deal of what hospice workers do is just this kind of counseling. They the terminally ill, and their loved ones, find a way to talk meaningfully and openly about difficult issues and arrive at a decision that everyone can accept.  Since this is a major component of their work, and the Repubs (led by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and that guy shaking a finger in Sen. Arlen Specter‘s face) are martialed against it, one has to question how the hospice movement can effectively survive.

cc -Some rights

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Health Care Protesters

Town Hall meetings all over the country have devolved into shouting matches and mass demonstrations. This is a sad state of affairs in American politics. We are witnessing the intentional stifling of debate. The saddest part is, much of this activity is not a spontaneous expression of individual feelings but is being perpetrated as a strategic campaign coordinated and funded by lobbyists.


Senators and Congressmen are out on summer recess but finding their local district offices likewise besieged by shouting crowds, not always made of constituent voters. At best, this is interfering with the real exchange of ideas and opinions with our elected representatives. At worst, it will allow a very small minority to control an important legislative decision just by virtue of being loud and nasty. [Look at this guy shaking a finger in anger right in the face of Sen. Arlen Specter. His mama would not be proud!]

This is not the way America is supposed to work.

Another sinister effort at distorting the legislative debate came to light last week when it was discovered that a Conservative lobbying firm, Bonner Associates, had sent fake letters to members of Congress in opposition to legislation addressing energy and climate-change issues. Bonner was in the employ of coal industry interests, but forged the letters to make them appear to have originated from members and officials  of African-American and Latino-American groups. Fraud!

cc -Some rights

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2009 in Health Care Debate


Tags: , , , , , , , ,