Most likely, unless you are actively avoiding all media, you have heard about the baffling “death panel” non-debate surrounding health care reform. Somehow, some conservative pundits extrapolated a provision proposing that Medicare reimburse doctors for talking with patients about end of life care to mean that the government would be setting up panels to decide whether or not older adults were “worthy” of receiving medical treatments at the end of life.
Thankfully, a prominent figure in the field of palliative care, Dr. David Casarett, Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics (and a former recipient of the Beeson award as well as participant in the John A. Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania), cleared up the confusion on All Things Considered on NPR on August 18. Click here for a transcript and a link to the audio. Hopefully, if enough qualified and informed people continue to get the word out that there is no basis for the “death panel” accusation, this unfounded rumor will die a natural death.