“The Patient Body” is a monthly column by Ann Neumann about issues at the intersection of religion and medicine. This month: The tragic life and death of Charlie Gard Continue Reading →
The Catholic Church understands far better than patients’ rights advocates do how religion, gender and sexuality work in society. If the debate about health care were focused on men’s bodies, the Church understands there would be a resounding call to make their hospitals subject to legal and medical standards. But because it’s about women’s bodies, the public conversation on all sides gets confused over issues of shame, pain, inconvenience, autonomy, social responsibility and voice. Continue Reading →
by Ann Neumann
Reposted from The Nation.
Last week a regulation to provide Medicare coverage for advance care planning counseling—that is, offer reimbursement to doctors for time spent talking to patients about end-of-life care—was abandoned… for the second time.
Section 1233 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) died a first death in the summer of 2009 in the debate over healthcare reform, during which healthcare opponents characterized the provision as a call for government-run “death panels.” Former Lieutenant Governor of New York State Betsy McCaughey, who consulted with Philip Morris while working on the hit piece against the Clinton healthcare plan “No Exit,” coined the “death panel” moniker; Sarah Palin popularized it. Then John Boehner, at the time the House minority leader, claimed that the provision would lead the country down “a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.” Fox & Friends repeated the “death panel” meme dozens of times, and soon, the provision was stripped from the healthcare bill. But last November, the Obama administration quietly inserted it into Medicare’s annual regulations—after the customary public review period. The New York Times‘s Robert Pear broke the news on Christmas Day that end-of-life counseling was to be covered by Medicare. Immediately, right-wing think tanks, some with legal cases against the healthcare bill, leveraged the “death panel” rhetoric to bolster their arguments. Continue Reading →