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End-of-life provision loses favor

Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
The cost of caring for patients who are near death accounts for a big piece of the government's medical spending, but a furor over a provision for government-paid counseling to plan for end-of-life care is steering lawmakers away from the issue. Inside a sweeping House bill to overhaul the health system is a provision that would require Medicare to pay physicians to counsel patients once every five years. During those sessions, doctors could discuss how patients can plan for such end-of-life decisions. Opponents say the provision shows that architects of the healthcare overhaul want to ration seniors' care.