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Medicare Says Doctors Should Get Paid To Discuss End-Of-Life Issues
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Remember so-called death panels? When Congress debated the Affordable Care Act in 2009, the legislation included a provision that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse doctors when they meet with patients to talk about end-of-life care. But then Sarah Palin loudly argued that such payments would lead to care being withheld from the elderly and disabled. Her assertions greatly distressed Dr. Pamelyn Close, a palliative care specialist in Los Angeles. “It did terrible damage to the concept of having this conversation,” she says. Amid the ensuing political uproar, Congress deleted the provision. And that, says Close, further discouraged doctors from initiating these talks.

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