Republicans today announced that Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), a cardiothoracic surgeon, will be delivering tomorrow’s response to President Obama’s joint address to Congress on health care. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) sent out a press release heralding Boustany’s experience and lamenting that Democrats have refused to work with him:
Actually, one of Boustany’s most notable proposals has received bipartisan support and was included in health care legislation: a plan to permit Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling. Boustany, in fact, was an original co-sponsor of this provision. Republicans were the ones who objected to this bipartisan proposal, saying it would establish “death panels” ready to “pull the plug on grandma.”
Last month, Boustany said the “death panel” scare-mongering had gotten “out of hand”:
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., a heart surgeon and a co-sponsor of the counseling bill, says the legislation is aimed at promoting important discussions between doctors and their patients about critical end-of-life issues, such as having a living will. He says those discussions are a “good medical practice,” and doctors who spend time counseling their patients about their wishes should be reimbursed through the Medicare system, as the legislation allows.
Now, Boustany says proponents may have to “back off” and reconsider the issue “at some point when the temperature had cooled down.”
“Frankly, this thing got really out of hand,” he says.
So, Democrats did try to work with Boustany…but overheated rhetoric by the GOP blocked any real progress.