Eliminating myths about end-of-life counseling

There are a lot of myths regarding "end-of-life" measures being spread out in the communities and to our congressional representatives regarding the issue of "end-of-life counseling" in the reform health care bill. The most important issue is not that the government is offering "end-of-life counseling" but it permits physicians to be paid for the time spent counseling and answering questions regarding questions like "advance directives," "living wills", "durable powers of attorney," and "hospice care." And the cost would be picked up by Medicare for those over 65 years of age.

This item is of great concern to all of us and should be done at the dinner table with the family present. We all are concerned that directives should be made for end-of-life measures. This should include the whole family not just the elderly. Children of a reasonable age should be made aware of the plans and be able to address their wishes too. If we lose a child, after majority who will make the decision and carry out their wishes? They should definitely be included and consideration taken as to what their wishes are as well. Just the same as older members of the family facing end of life decisions. It becomes voluntary and completely up to each individual whether to take steps to have "end-of-life" wishes written into legal documents so they can be carried out as desired.

The health reform bill before Congress only states that counseling is available, not that the government is going to decide what is best for us. How in the world did it become so confusing and misunderstood? The Government is not going to make the choice for us. It is our choice! If you wish to discuss this issue with your doctor and it allows for payment to the doctor through Medicare, not that Medicare or the government is going to offer you some grandiose euthanasia program. It states only that your physician will be paid if you wish to make an appointment and talk to him or her.

It will be a great advantage for those who have no family with whom to have these discussions.

We need the bill to make sure that the elderly persons with no family or limited family can be properly informed regarding their wishes. It certainly will not omit care at the end of life.

Cherie Schroeder, Newberry Springs