By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
People wondering if there’s any truth to the “rumor” that current health care reform includes “death panels” may be more convinced when they discover that two authors of the now infamous Section 1233 are major proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In her Aug. 12 blog, pro-life activist Jill Stanek points out facts uncovered by The Family Research Council (FRC) about the role played by Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, the first state to legalize physician assisted suicide 12 year ago, in crafting Section 1233. Writing in the July 28 edition of the Huffington Post, Blumenauer wrote: “Rep. Buck McKeon admonished people to read the bill and then specifically cited Section 1233. Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it’s a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation.”
Blumenauer, a vocal proponent of assisted suicide, wrote an amicus brief in support of the practice in the 2005 Supreme Court case Gonzalez vs. Oregon. His website also links to a 1960 Harper’s magazine article promoting both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.
According to the FRC, Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society, also had a hand in crafting Section 1233. In a July 27 press release, the organization that calls itself the “aid-in-dying-movement” admits:
“Compassion & Choices has worked tirelessly with supportive members of congress to include in proposed reform legislation a provision requiring Medicare to cover patient consultation with their doctors about end-of-life choice (section 1233 of House Bill 3200).”
In spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, President Obama and members of Congress deny that “death panels” are included in health care reform and claim that the consultations for end-of-life care referenced in this section are purely voluntary.
However, this is not true because Section 1233 lets doctors initiate the chats and gives them an incentive – money – to do so.
“Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority,” writes Charles Lane in the Washington Post. “Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit ‘formulation’ of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would ‘place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,’ I don’t think he’s being realistic.”
The furor over the Section has caused the U.S. Senate to delete a provision on end-of-life care from their own version of health care reform.
The Associated Press is reporting that Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.
The Senate Finance Committee is still working to complete a bill.
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