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Healthcare Decisions vs. “Death Panels”

MSN Money contributor Anthony Mirhaydari discusses the country’s debt problem as it relates to healthcare and more specifically the cost of Medicare [given the growing number of retiring baby boomers] in his article Why we need ‘death panels’.

April is Healthcare Decisions month. If you haven’t already done so, we suggest that you communicate your end of life wishes in writing to family, friends and healthcare providers so that your choices are honored.

Mr. Mirhaydari reminds us that the concept of openly communicating healthcare preferences was originally supported in the Affordable Healthcare Act/”Obamacare”. Funding was to be provided to address legally documenting our healthcare choices. Some called these discussions ‘death panels’ suggesting it meant “pulling the plug on grandma”. When according to Mirhaydari, end of life counseling is to guide the treatment for the terminally ill. This unpopular option was pulled from the plan.

Mirhaydari points out that 25% of all Medicare spending goes to the 5% of recipients who die each year. Approximately 80% of those recipients have only a few months to live. Palliative or hospice care is less expensive than hospital stays in intensive care, not being poked, prodded and intubated as Mirhaydari describes. Where is your chance to have peace and choose your own treatment or opt to withhold treatment?

Mr. Mirhaydari suggests that nights in a $30,000 per night hospital room have not proven helpful to patients. According to him, we may be “causing damage to future generations who will incur more debt, pay more taxes, weaken our defenses, neglecting needed investments for the future vitality of the country”.

People can choose to enjoy their final days at home surrounded by loved ones. Learn more about Advance Directives, Hospice and other pre-need planning options that will bring you and your family peace of mind.

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