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Planning for the final months: End-of-life care

House Republicans made repealing health care reform their first legislative act, and on Wednesday, Senate Republicans attempted to do the same, but failed.  Given that repeal is unlikely to succeed, House republicans are trying a different tactic: rolling back the parts they oppose, provision by provision.

The day after the vote to repeal healthcare reform, Republican leaders introduced legislation to ban federal funding for abortion, although arguably, a law already exists that does that.  Some opponents say the goal is at least partly a divisive debate to help further weaken the health reform law. Another contentious health care issue, end-of-life counseling — specifically, reimbursing doctors for the time spent counseling their patients — didn’t require a  vote.  As you may recall, in order to get the health care bill passed, the Obama administration removed end-of-life counseling reimbursement from the bill.

Politics aside,  there are people right now struggling with end-of-life issues: doctors, patients, and their families. In 2009 our colleagues from the program NOW on PBS accompanied Dr. Gerlyn Brasic from La Crosse, Wis., to see first hand how doctors help their patients plan for their final months.