It’s probably a good idea for you to talk with your loved ones about your views on what sort of health care you, or they want, as death draws near. And it may even be a good idea for a public program that pays for medical care to pay, as one service among many, physicians who provide a counseling session on such matters to patients who request it.

But will such a payment mean that a government bureaucracy shapes the discussion? Given the pattern of government programs here, there and everywhere telling us what to eat, how to exercise and so forth, that’s not out of the question.

Gary Palmer, president of the Alabama Policy Institute, weighs in on the current controversy over the VA hospital system and the booklet, “Your Life, Your Choices,” saying “It is unconscionable that American men and women who have answered the nation’s call to arms and suffered the horrors and ravages of war would return home to be encouraged to die just to save a few dollars. But it should not be surprising in light of the end-of-life counseling panels, death panels as some have called them, which target the elderly in the health care reform bill.”

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(Cross-posted from State House Call.)

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