House may resurrect measure allowing Medicare reimbursement for end-of-life consultation

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Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

A controversial provision to allow Medicare to reimburse for end-of-life planning consultations could be making a comeback, according to reports.

The provision had passed the House of Representatives during the first round of the healthcare reform debate, but didn't make its way into the final package. Now, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is drumming up support for the measure as a stand-alone bill, The Huffington Post reported. Originally a bipartisan addition to the healthcare bill, Blumenauer said he hopes there will be a more reasonable debate on the measure this time around.

The provision to allow Medicare reimbursement for physician consultations on end-of-life issues became a lightning rod for controversy when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin erroneously said that it would lead to the creation of government “death panels.” Blumenauer speculates that the measure would likely pass with two-thirds support in the House if it could be separated from such “heated rhetoric,” the Post reported.