'End-of-Life' Proposal Adds to Healthcare Debate

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Critics say a provision in President Barack Obama's healthcare reform bill encourages "end of life" counseling for seniors, one of the bill's most controversial issues.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin referred to the proposal as "Obama's death panel."

The proposal would reimburse a doctor for talking with a patient, every five years, about what kind of care they want near the end of their life.
The White House said millions of dollars could be saved on costly medical procedures, that many seniors do not want.
Conservative critics call it a path toward government sponsored euthanasia.

"Let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia. That's simply not true," Obama said.

"It's really a shared decision and everyone's on the same page, people don't want to die hooked up to machines," he added.

"Our mother has given to us all of our lives and been there for us and so I feel that it's our turn to give some back and be able to follow  through with her wishes," said Ann Kottnaur, a daughter who cares for her elderly mother. 

A similar program already exists in Lacrosse, Wisc.
In Lacrosse, medical spending in the final year of life averages around $18,000 compared to the national average of $25,000.

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