And so it begins:
Medicare, the federal program that insures 55 million older and disabled Americans, announced plans on Wednesday to reimburse doctors for conversations with patients about whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.
[. . .]
Medicare’s plan comes as many patients, families and health providers are pushing to give people greater say about how they die — whether that means trying every possible medical option to stay alive or discontinuing life support for those who do not want to be sustained by ventilators and feeding tubes.
[. . .]
Major medical organizations endorsed Medicare’s proposal. The National Right to Life Committee opposed it on grounds that it could lead to patients’ being pressured to forgo treatment.
So, we're not quite to the death panels Sarah Palin took so much grief for warning us about, but it's pretty easy to see how we get there from here. It can go from, "Sir or Madam, do you wish to live or die?" to "Hey, don't you think it's about time foryou to move on and make room for somebody else?"
It's not that such conversations are a bad idea. In fact, it should be part of a doctor's training to deal with end-of-life decisions. But it's downright scary that the effort is being pushed by the federal government. Oh, wait. It never goes too far in anything, does it? Forgert I brought it up.