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Rep. Earl Blumenauer Headshot

Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care

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Those with no solutions and no answers for how to reform our health care system are hijacking positive, bipartisan efforts that have contributed to a strong bill passed out of two House committees. Republican leadership has abandoned all efforts at passing needed health care reform -- even turning their attacks to legislation that has been actively crafted and supported by both parties.

One of these outrageous examples is my Life Sustaining Treatment Preferences Act.

GOP leadership has been gravely distorting the truth and misrepresenting the facts about this bipartisan effort, and in the process throwing members of their own party under the bus -- those who have reached across the aisle to do something that will help Americans across the nation.

The bill simply provides people with better care as they grapple with the hardest health care issue of all -- their final chapter of life. See the Myths vs. Facts sheet on this. CNN reporter Elizabeth Landau does a great job highlighting the benefits of "doctors and family members having more conversations about end-of-life issues," which my bill addresses.

This bill has bipartisan support (the main cosponsor is a Republican doctor) as well as support from a diverse coalition like AARP, the American College of Physicians, and Catholic health systems. It is an area where -- no matter from a red or blue state -- many have been able to bridge the divide.

The bottom line: this is a smart and just thing to do for families going through a tough time. Who wouldn't want to know:

  • Can I stay in my home or will I need to move to a hospital or nursing home at some point?
  • What are different treatment options as my health declines?
  • Will I be in pain and what are the side effects of medication?

These outrageous distortions about "rationing end of life care" are not only personally infuriating, but their attempts to derail health reform endanger millions of people who live without insurance and desperately need access to affordable, high quality health care. As PolitiFact notes, these are "pants on fire" untruths.

We cannot waste any more time when it comes to reforming our broken health care system. While Republican leadership is determined to bring down reform and sink President Obama -- saying they want health care to be his "Waterloo" and "to break him" -- the cost of inaction is too high. If we do nothing, 45,000 people will lose their health care every week.

If we fail to act to reform our system, everyone will feel the consequences. Americans deserve the truth about what is in the health care reform bill, not scare tactics or misrepresentations. It is time to stop playing politics with people's lives.