Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ObamaCare Saves Social Security

Little noticed in the hubbub and misinformation surrounding ObamaCare is the fact that this section of the bill has the potential for actually saving Social Security from bankruptcy:
"Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the 7 term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner [doctor] ... if ... the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years." [From Page 425 of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, Revised Standard Edition]
The implication here is that, no less frequently than every half decade, our seniors will be required to have these discussions with their doctor. Now, that may not sound so insidious, but as Washington Post (not exactly a right-wing publication) editor Charles Lane notes, "Section 1233, however, addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones. Supporters protest that they're just trying to facilitate choice -- even if patients opt for expensive life-prolonging care. I think they protest too much: If it's all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what's it doing in a measure to "bend the curve" on health-care costs?"
Good question.
A bit later (on page 432), we find a new government mandate that seems to provide at least a partial answer:
"For purposes of reporting data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available, the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate. Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life sustaining treatment."
What better way to bring the problem of life expectancy back under control?
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