KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Oregon Lawmaker Continues To Push For End-Of-Life Care Benefit

Despite an opposition campaign full of misinformation, an Oregon lawmaker continues to push to keep his controversial end-of-life provision in the House's health care proposal. The Oregonian reports: "With Congress digging in again on health care, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said Thursday he would continue to fight to keep his end-of-life provision in the House bill, though he conceded it may be sacrificed in the effort to pass reform legislation. 'There is significant sentiment from members who have come up to me we really need to fight to make sure nobody waters it down or throws it out,' Blumenauer said of his provision."

"Blumenauer also said removing it would reward critics who knowingly misrepresented the truth. ... At the same time, Blumenauer said he could vote for a bill without his provision if it (addresses) the primary, and larger issues -- covering most, if not all, of the 47 million uninsured people in America and providing mechanisms to control spiraling health care costs" (Pope 9/10).

Meanwhile, NPR reports on the term death panel, which former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said end-of-life provisions provision would lead to, and practices similar to "death panels" throughout the world: "As the United States debates how to overhaul its health-care system, arguments have become increasingly outlandish - perhaps none more so than former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's assertion that the Obama administration plans to implement state-sponsored 'death panels' to determine whether the elderly and infirm deserve life-saving medical treatment. ... But Foreign Policy took a close look around the world, in places where something akin to death panels is alive and well."

NPR and Foreign Policy examined assisted suicide programs, Texas' "Futile Care" law, extraordinary treatment panels and capital punishment arbiters. NPR reports: "Iran and Saudi Arabia ... along with China, the United States, and Pakistan performed 93 percent of known executions around the world in 2008" (Nangia and Wilkerson, 9/10).

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