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Probable presidential candidate John Ellis Bush ("Jeb") Bush, fresh off his recent interview bragging about how he saved Terri Schiavo's life real good 13 years ago, has given some thought to how future governors can be saved from the anguish that he had to suffer in that case, and he thinks maybe the answer is that patients on Medicare should be required to make a plan for the kind of end-of-life care they want. You know, death panels.


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The New York Times helpfully notes that when the first draft of the Affordable Care Act would have required insurance to pay for doctors for consultations to do such advanced planning -- without any mandate that people actually have such consultations -- the right "claimed that the legislation would give bureaucrats the power to decide if some frail or disabled people were deserving of medical care" although they duly observe that the "assertion was shown to be false." And then in 2010 when Medicare attempted to allow "voluntary advance care planning,” the "death panels" claim arose once more, and President Obama told Medicare to knock it the heck off.

And now when Jeb Bush thinks that mandatory advanced directives for Medicare patients would be a great idea because it would remove any doubt about what a person wants done -- and we think that's a terrific idea, we really do -- the rightwing press is somehow not in full death-panel meltdown mode! Oh, sure, we did find one hyper-rightwing blog -- dedicated to proving that the once holy Catholic Church has been infiltrated by demonic forces (you can tell by its title, demonicinfiltrationcatholicchurch.blogspot.com) -- warning that Jeb Bush wants to Death Panel all the old folks. Obviously, according to demonicinfiltrationcatholicchurch.blogspot.com, this is the inevitable result of the "New Mass" that destroyed Catholicism when it was introduced by those demonic vipers, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI in the '60s.

But his big take-away from the Schiavo case, says Jeb, is that maybe he'd be open to one Big Government mandate, and only one, when it comes to health care. While he is pretty sure he did everything exactly right in the Schiavo case, he does rather wish that the decision hadn't been left up to an unreliable decision-maker like Terri Schiavo's legal guardian, her husband, who was no good at all when it came to wooing "pro-life" votes:

However, Mr. Bush said, “In hindsight, the one thing that I would have loved to have seen was an advance directive where the family would have sorted this out” before courts became involved.

“I think if we’re going to mandate anything from government, it might be that if you’re going to take Medicare, you also sign up for an advance directive where you talk about this before you’re so disabled,” Mr. Bush said.

So when Barack Obama suggests merely paying for such planning, he wants to drag your special-needs baby before a death panel. But when John Ellis Bush ("Jeb") Bush says it should be mandatory for all Medicare recipients, it's a thoughtful reflection on advance planning for some of the unfortunate circumstances life might throw at a person.

We're hoping to learn more about Jeb's newfound commitment -- what happens when a Catholic family disagrees with a relative's advance directive, for instance, and demands that their feeding tube be kept in forever? Someone ought to ask him about that, maybe.

[NYT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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