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I have just one comment on the cross controversy at the Supreme Court. In my view, the Court will probably end up not resolving the core issue of the legitimacy of the land tranfer and resolve this either on standing grounds or on the issue of whether the pemanent injunction can be vitiated by act of Congress. (This will be important to us, but may not make for scintillating television commentary.)
I’d like to move to something new. I gave a presentation to the annual conference of the group Compassion and Choices yesterday. This group advocates for serious planning about individual end of life care choices and has supported in limited circumstances “physician assistance in dying”. When I was reviewing some material for my speech, I noticed that the idea of planning for the end of your life was a postion once advocated by such conservatives as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. These are the same people who have now condemned Administration healthcare plans in part because of a provision which would have compensated physicians in Medicare for having voluntary discussions with people about their end of life choices. That provision seems to be vanishing from current work on healthcare reform. And that, from my perspective, is a very sad thing to have happened.
So, Jay, I just wanted to know how you feel about this one narrow issue. Do you believe that physicians should be compensated for discussing options for patients at the end of life (which in 48 states does include “physician assistance in dying”) so that Americans can state their views clearly in so-called “living wills” or in “health care powers of attorney”?