In the initial version of Obamacare, there was a provision in which if someone wanted to have a voluntary counseling session with a doctor about end-of-life care, discussing things like advanced directives, then Medicare would pay for that session. Somehow that was twisted by opponents of the bill into a claim that there were Death Panels, government boards that would choose whether you live or die.

My question is, was an end-of-life counseling provision kept in the final version of the bill? Some sources I've seen say that Democrats took it out of the bill, just to try to stop the lie about Death Panels. But other sources I've seen said that a weakened version of it was kept, in which rather than a separate counseling session, patients had the option of talking to the doctor about end-of-life care as part of their yearly Medicare checkup.

Can anyone clarify which of these is right?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You in Advance.

  • It's interesting that if user18 posted a question that baselessly accused someone of lying for partisan reasons, it'd have been downvoted to oblibion. This question, which doesn't even attempt to hide its bias, gets +3.
    – user4012
    Dec 22, 2013 at 19:14
  • For the record, the Death Panels idea was mostly due to the simple logical conclusion that Obamacare will lead to health care rationing. To quote that uber-hard-right-wing consevative, H. Dean: "IPAB is... essentially a health-care rationing body."
    – user4012
    Dec 22, 2013 at 19:17
  • Oh, here's another conservartive thinker, along same lines: theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/22/…
    – user4012
    Dec 22, 2013 at 19:21
  • 1
    @DVK I didn't speculate about why they lied, I just mentioned the fact that they lied, which is pretty firmly established. It was, after all, Politifact's Lie of the Year: www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/dec/18/politifact-lie-year-death-panels/ Dec 22, 2013 at 20:14
  • just because politifact doesn't bother looking at, y'know, facts (see quotes above) isn't my problem. The point is that whether counceling was or wasn't in the final version has nothing to do with your clearly biased wording, yet you get upvotes since it makes Rs look bad. Any question where the wording - no matter how relevant - makes Dems look bad gets a wave of downvotes, for "bias"
    – user4012
    Dec 22, 2013 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


From what I can tell, the provision was omitted. From wikipedia:

Due to public concern, the provision to pay physicians for providing voluntary counseling was removed from the Senate bill and was not included in the law that was enacted, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Apparently there was regulation that would allow medicare to cover end-of-life consultations during annual check-ups, but those regulations lasted only a few days:

In late December 2010, it was reported that a new Medicare regulation had been approved that would pay for end-of-life care consultations during annual physical exams. The regulation was to be effective January 1, 2011,[13] but was deleted on January 4 for political reasons.

The New York Times article to which wikipedia links suggests that it was removed to make the bill easier to defend from anticipated attacks by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives elected in 2010:

While administration officials cited procedural reasons for changing the rule, it was clear that political concerns were also a factor. The renewed debate over advance care planning threatened to become a distraction to administration officials who were gearing up to defend the health law against attack by the new Republican majority in the House.


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