GOP Backed 'Death Panels' 2003
End-of-life counseling provided in Medicare bill
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 14, 2009 2:10 PM CDT
Randy Hook, 50, of Hopewell, Pa., right, questions Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., during a town hall meeting on health care in a Penn State University ballroom in State College, Pa., Aug. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – They’re up in arms against it now, but Republicans voted for a measure providing end-of-life counseling in 2003, Amy Sullivan writes for Time. That year’s Medicare prescription drug bill, which boasted support from 204 GOP representatives and 42 senators, offered funding for “counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options”—a provision very similar to the current proposal's.

The difference, Sullivan notes, is that the older measure “applied only to terminally ill patients”; Section 1233, now being tossed around, would fund counseling before people get sick. “So either Republicans were for death panels in 2003 before turning against them now—or they're lying about end-of-life counseling in order to frighten the bejeezus out of their fellow citizens and defeat health reform by any means necessary.”