Friday, July 17, 2015

National Pro-life Leaders Fear Health Care Rationing

Catholic News Service
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — An Obama administration proposal to pay doctors for “advance care planning” for Medicare patients is fraught with dangers for the elderly and those facing serious illnesses, according to the National Right to Life Committee.

Congress needs to act quickly to protect those patients from making uninformed decisions about their care, Burke Balch said during the organization’s annual convention July 9-11 in New Orleans.

Balch, director of the NRLC’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics, said an Obama administration proposal to institute “advance care planning” is designed to “nudge” patients to forgo life-saving treatment and even assisted feeding by giving them “unbalanced, distorted and even inaccurate information” about their condition and the effectiveness of treatment options.

Citing a 2013 Health Affairs article titled “Decision Aids: When ‘Nudging’ Patients to Make a Particular Choice is More Ethical Than Balanced, Nondirective Content,” Balch said advance care planning is touted as a means of drastically cutting health care costs.

Balch said the NRLC favors advance medical directives — it has developed its own “Will to Live” document — and supports alternatives that “provide truly informed consent to decisions about medical treatment.”

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