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End-Of-Life Counseling Makes It Into Health Care Reform Bill


Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer's proposal allowing Medicare to reimburse doctors for their end-of-life counseling sessions has survived.

It's emerged as part of the health care bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced Thursday.

Over the summer, the provision became a rallying point for conservatives including Sarah Palin, who said it would lead to so-called "death panels". 

Those allegations were attacked by Democrats,  hospice groups and others.

Blumenauer says, if anything, he thinks the controversy won him new allies, like a House chaplain who approached Speaker Pelosi about the provision.

Earl Blumenauer: "And the chaplain took her aside, he was a minister from a Southern state, and said ‘It's very important for those of us in the clergy that this provision be kept, cos' we see situations where families don't get the help they need, and we have to try to counsel them through."

Blumenauer says the provision's funding is the same as he originally proposed. But he says the Democrats' bill still has a long way to go before becoming law.

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