The debate about health care reform, especially as it pertains to end-of-life issues, became increasingly contentious in “town hall” meetings across America, especially a few months ago. Some people claim that elder Americans were being herded into euthanasia and assisted suicide via rationing of medical treatment.
In fact, the Obama Administration’s health care reform initiative, although controversial, seemed intended to encourage potentially productive doctor-patient conversations concerning end-of-life issues that may be relevant to most anyone. In fact, a Living Will is good for individuals. It enables people to make essential choices about how they choose to end their days. Most attorneys already discuss these issues with their clients when preparing estate plans. Doctors often have these discussions now with their patients. The proposed health care reform initiative, depending upon what eventually emerges as law, should enable the doctor to be paid for spending the time to help patients think through these important decisions.
Proactive Elder Law attorneys continue to encourage their clients to create Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives before it’s too late. Under the proposed legislation, doctors and their patients will now be encouraged to have this conversation, as well.