2 Words Could Clean Up 'Death Panel' Mess: Parker

'A simple amendment' would put debate to rest
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2009 8:38 AM CDT
Ellen Geiger, 56, who opposes health care reform, yells as she listens to panelists during a health care town hall meeting in Alhambra, Calif, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Sarah Palin went way too far in suggesting “death panels” would kill her loved ones—but  the wording of the House health bill authorizing payment for end-of-life consultations is worrisome, writes Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post. “A simple amendment would do much to cool tempers.” The current wording lets us “imagine a scenario when, feeble and ill, we might be subtly urged to forgo further life-sustaining treatment out of consideration for others,” Parker writes.

To fix that, “all that's needed is specific language saying that these end-of-life consultations are not mandatory—either for physicians or patients—and that there would be no penalty, either in coverage or compensation, for declining to participate.”