Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel steps into the healthcare reform debate to finally set the record straight on the so-called “death panels” and mandatory euthanasia provision in the proposed legislation, claiming that anyone who doesn’t understand that consultations will in fact be “mandatory” is a lying idiot:
[D]espite ludicrous denials by both an increasingly partisan AARP and a “snitch on your comrade” White House, pages 424, 425, and 426 of the plan do, in fact, mandate compulsory government “end-of-life” consultations for seniors who have “not had such a consultation within the last 5 years.”
According to the bill, these consultations “shall include…an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice.” (Or, as President Kevorkian put it, instruct you that: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”)
Again, these are mandatory consultations. The word “shall” is a legal term of art that means – for lack of a better word – “shall.” Notwithstanding White House and AARP claims to the contrary, “shall” does not mean “may,” “can” or “have the option to.”
So, in the interest of candor and for the sake of clarity, let’s call ObamaCare’s mandatory “end-of-life counseling” what it truly is: “End-your-life” counseling. Better yet, let’s call it the “Useless-Eaters-Get-Out-of-the-Way-and-Just-Die-Already” provision.
So let’s take a look at pages 424-426 [PDF] of the legislation, shall we?
In doing so, we find lots of confusing language about “striking ‘and’’ at the end of subparagraph (DD)” and “adding ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (EE)” before it gets to the heart of the matter, which is adding a new paragraph (FF) to the end of the list of medical services set out in the “Medical and Other Health Services” portion of “Section 1861 of the Social Security Act.”
And this is the paragraph that is added:
Advance Care Planning Consultation
Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:
(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.
Now Barber is correct that the term “shall” does appear in this paragraph, but the “shall” obviously refers what “shall” be covered by any such consultations – it does not mandate that anyone “shall” participate in such consultations. In short, nobody is required to take advantage of “advance care planning consultations,” but if they do, among the things covered will be “end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice.”
That seems pretty straight-forward, but in case Barber is still confused, consider this: this new paragraph is added to the end of “Section s” of the existing Social Security law covering “medical and other health services.”
Among the services already provided under the existing law are things like “certified nurse-midwife services,” “qualified psychologist services,” “prostate cancer screening tests,” “colorectal cancer screening tests,” and “screening for glaucoma,” among dozens of others services.
By the Right’s logic, these sorts of things must also be mandatory right now … but amazingly, I haven’t heard of elderly people forced by government bureaucrats to receive “colorectal cancer screening tests” against their will, have you?
If “advanced care planning consultation” is mandatory, as the Right is claiming, then all of the services currently listed under Section 1861 of the Social Security Act are likewise mandatory.
But they obviously aren’t.