Day after tomorrow Medicare will start paying for end-of-life counseling. 

In  New York Post article headlined "Death Panels Are Back," Betsy McCaughey explains why this is not as benign as it might sound:

It’s being sold as “death with dignity,” but it’s more like dying for dollars. Seniors are nudged to forego life-sustaining procedures and hospital care to go into hospice. That enriches the booming hospice industry and also frees up dollars for the left’s favored social causes.

The Institute of Medicine is being quite straightforward about this:

Why is the government meddling with how we cope with death? The Institute of Medicine doesn’t mince words. Scrimping on seniors will free up money “to fund highly targeted and carefully tailored social services for both children and adults.” Just like ObamaCare. Robbing Grandma to spread the wealth.

In 2009, President Obama said seniors are getting too many procedures and maybe they’re “better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” Obama’s health guru Ezekiel Emanuel argues the elderly should be a lower priority because “they have already had more life-years.”

It’s the perfect storm of ideology and industry greed, with hospice providers lobbying lawmakers to make end-of-life counseling the standard.

McCaughey says that the hospice industry has taken a turn from nonprofit to being aggressively profit-oriented. Needless to say, the industry lobbies Washington for profitable arrangements. In New York, for example, doctors who don't provide end-of-life counseling to patients with terminal illness can be fined. Somehow I don't think asking if the patient wants to see a priest would qualify.

A doctor’s quality rating (and pay from Medicare) would have depended partly on the proportion of patients who had advanced directives and how many adhered to them. Hardly voluntary if your doctor’s pay depends on your sticking to your “Do Not Resuscitate” order.

Older patients who could get well and lead meaningful lives will face subtle (or maybe not subtle?) counseling directed towards foregoing medical care. The constant talking point for ObamaCare advocates is that a quarter of Medicare expenses are for the last year of life. McCaughey:

That’s like harping on how often Babe Ruth struck out.

It is also an example of how government has so many expenditures that it must shift its burdens around in what once would have been considered novel ways.