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Blumenauer Pushes For End-Of-Life Conversations Again

Congressman Earl Blumenauer is working to try to allow doctors to bill health insurance companies for end-of-life conversations.

Currently, if a doctor wants to talk to a patient about dying, he or she has to do it off-the-clock. They can’t bill insurance companies for the time.

Portland Democrat, Earl Blumenauer, says he has 60 co-sponsors for his bill to allow such conversations to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

“It will pay for a 93-year-old woman with terminal cancer to have her hip replaced, but it won’t pay a couple of hundred bucks for the doctor to have a conversation with this woman and her family to find out what her wishes are,” he said.

Adding, “to be able to explore ways to improve her comfort, looking at what treatment might be, and whatever her choice, make sure it’s respected.”

Blumenauer is pushing the Obama administration to include his bill in its rulemaking authority, due out by the end of the month.

He tried to include similar legislation in the Affordable Care Act, but it was taken out after a furor erupted over so-called “death panels.”