Feds should stay out of end-of-life matters

December 30, 2010

I'm writing in response to the opinion article titled "Death: Let's talk about it" (editorial, Dec. 29).

While I agree with the point made that having discussions and making plans regarding actions to be taken or not taken at the end or near end of one's life are important, I differ in opinion as to who should be involved in those discussions and plans.

Such discussions and decisions should be between family and, if wanted by the individual, physician and attorney. The federal government is not needed and should not be involved in such matters and should have no justification to dictate or mandate what should be the ultimate personal decision.

Procedures and policies are already in place to document the desires of an individual regarding treatment and handling at end of life time.

Wills and advance directives are and have been the vehicle for individuals to express their wishes to family, medical personnel, and all others regarding what to do at the end of one's life.

As far as doctors getting reimbursed for such counseling sessions, they already are paid via cost of the office visit. Thus, it isn't necessary to have a specific category for payment by the federal government.

Additionally, such discussion should be at initiative of the individual. not the dictates of a doctor's schedule.

Rick Schimpf, Pasadena

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