The Threat to Life in “Advance Care Planning” and How to Counter It


The Obama Administration has used executive power to direct the payment of tax dollars to health care providers to conduct “advance care planning” sessions for Medicare beneficiaries. (Advance care planning refers to counseling potential patients on deciding when to accept or reject life-preserving medical treatment and advising on legal documents embodying that decision.)

 

It is good to help people to prepare advance directives, like National Right to Life’s Will to Live, that set forth treatment decisions based on what are genuinely their own values and preferences. Tragically, however, as documented in the Powell Center report available through the link below, in practice advance care planning too often is less about discovering and applying patients’ own wishes than about “nudging” them to reject life-saving measures and accept premature death. Many of its most ardent advocates and practitioners have openly made clear their motivation is to limit health care spending and to impose a “quality of life” ethic. Frequently, patients are provided “decision aids” that paint slanted and negative pictures of the quality of life if one’s life is preserved, along with emphasizing (sometimes with factual inaccuracies) potential side effects of treatment while ignoring or downplaying the effects of its withholding or withdrawal.

 

To help offset such pressure, National Right to Life is supporting enactment of the Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act, which, among other tools to protect the right to choose life, would provide equal access to pro-treatment advance directives, such as National Right to Life’s Will to Live, under Medicare.

 

Powell Center Factsheet on Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act 

 

Text of Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act 

BiasLifeTreatment

View our 2015 Report: The Bias Against Life-Preserving Treatment in Advance Care Planning 

 

Read Disability Rights Advocates Eye-Opening Evidence of How Advance Care Planning discourages treatment based on people’s disabilities

 

Disability Perspectives on Public Policy In Advance Care Planning, Presentation made by Diane Coleman, JD, CEO, Not Dead Yet to the 3rd International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life care Conference (Plenary Session), May 31, 2012 Text of presentation | PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)

 

A review of evidence supporting certain disability rights concerns about “end of life” advocacy, Workshop presentation made by Diane Coleman, JD, CEO, Not Dead Yet at the 3rd International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life care Conference (May 31, 2012) Text of presentation | PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)

 

National Disability Letter on Living With Feeding Tubes and Breathing Support

 

NDY and Center for Disability Rights Comment Letter to New York Medicaid Opposing “Conversation Ready” Project As a Way to Save Money

 

Read "Tax dollars could be spent to “nudge” older people to agree to premature death under Senate bill S.1549"