Senate may kill section of reform bill dubbed 'death panel' by critics

First, let's begin with the facts: There isn't and never was a "death panel" deciding who had the right to live or die included in any version of the health reform legislation coming out of Congress. However, to whatever extent there was any discussion of death and end-of-life care in the Senate version of the bill, it looks like that may be coming out of the legislation.

Until recently there has been a provision in the Social Security Act, inserted in 1990, which made sure that legal patient documents like advanced directives were a prominent parts of a patient's chart. The rule also required providers to educate staff and the community on advance directives. Staff members weren't paid for this educational process. The new bill, however, would pay them for their time.

Now a group of six Senators, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has dropped these end-of-life provisions, arguing "they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly." Death panel or no, I guess end-of-life counseling is out.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece