June 25, 2011 in Letters, Opinion

End-of-life costs mount

 

Sue Lani Madsen (Letters, June 16) asks for bipartisanship when her congresswoman’s starting position is turning Medicare into a half-paid voucher scheme. The congresswoman bought her horse and Madsen thinks it’s a magical unicorn.

Republicans demonized Democrats when they wanted to pay for a doctor visit to plan end-of-life medical directives. The average medical cost for a senior increases from $7,365 a year to $37,581 in the final year of life (Aging Research, Rutgers University). Much of that increase includes medical care and procedures that don’t change the outcome and may increase suffering. Advanced medical directives are necessary to ensure that the wishes of the patient are honored without bureaucratic interference.

The Republican objection prevents any cost savings from seniors who don’t want extraordinary measures to be taken at the end of their life. Republicans said that Democrats wanted to pull the plug on Grandma. That was their attempt at bipartisanship, and it blocked reasonable cost savings to sustain Medicare.

The congresswoman is a career politician holding a party leadership position. She must oppose anything that Democrats propose, even if it’s bipartisan. That’s why McMorris Rodgers opposed fixing the Medicare Plan D doughnut hole. Grandma’s pill bottle is now empty.

Pete Scobby

Newport


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