Medicare weighs paying for end-of-life counseling
WASHINGTON - Medicare is asking for public comment on whether it should pay doctors for counseling patients about their options for end-of-life care.
Friday's announcement came in a voluminous regulation on physician payment. Spokesman Aaron Albright says it will "give the public ample opportunity to weigh in on the topic."
Five years after a similar proposal triggered a political backlash against President Barack Obama's health care legislation, the administration is dipping its toe in the water.
Such counseling would be voluntary, aiming to make patients aware of their end-of-life options so they can determine the type of care they want.
The approach has wide support in the medical community, and some private insurance plans already pay for the counseling. Medicare will consider a change for 2016.