US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Death panels versus hospice

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Under Obama's health care reform, critics say, "death panels" will decide who gets to live and who gets to die. Unfortunately, this scare tactic could mean no funding for a program many Catholics seem to think important: hospice care.

In theory at least, Catholics like to look at death as a natural part of life, as a point of transition and not an end. But at the same time, we all want to be alive, and death can be scary.

Sadly, some have chosen to speak to our fears with this talk of "death panels," and according to this NYT article, that might mean that politicians are scared of putting any "end-of-life"  language in their bills, even if it's for funding of positive (and yes, probably cost-saving) programs that Medicare recipients couldn't otherwise afford on their own.

The article is a long one, but it's worth a read to see what exactly "palliative care" means and how our health care system could handle death a lot better than it is.

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly is also covering this issue well. Here are a few stories to watch:

Health Care Costs and the Elderly

End of Life Dilemmas