Medicare may fund end-of-life talks

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Supporters of end-of-life care expect Medicare to announce soon that it will pay physicians to have advanced-care planning conversations with patients, according to Politico.

Many physicians have urged private insurers to cover advanced-care conversations, and some state Medicaid programs already do so.

Certain states have passed laws making it easier to document end-of-life care goals in medical records. In Congress, bills in the House and the Senate have called for physician reimbursement for these discussions, but no bills have made it to floor votes.

The potential policy is reminiscent of the misunderstood provision that gave rise to "death panel" fears and almost overturned the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2009. A 2015 CMS decision to pay Medicare physicians for end-of-life talks may ignite similar uproar.

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