Saturday, September 5, 2009

Your Representative Wants To Hear From You

About a month ago the administrator of Luther Acres asked the residents to contact their political representatives and ask them not to drop the CLASS provision, which provides partial funding for nursing homes, from the annual budget. So I contacted my state and federal reps by telephone where possible. My rep in Congress, Joe Pitts, was not available, so I e-mailed him.

Today I received a reply. It was a thank you note for contacting him about my concern for the "end-of-life provisions in President Obama’s healthcare proposal," (Huh?) which I never mentioned in my email. His response consisted of a fairly long document concerning several of the provisions in the Obama plan.

But the main portion of the letter was Just-Say-No-Joe’s objection to the end-of-life consultations included in the proposed bill. The gist of his objection is that he is afraid the elderly will be pressured into signing directives they would not otherwise sign.

In addition, Joe is upset because nowhere in the bill is there a prohibition on counseling about the supposed benefits of killing oneself.

Now as I understand it, the idea is for elderly individuals to consult with their health professional (doctor) in order to ascertain their options regarding their last days. In other contexts Joe has stated that government bureaucrats should never come between the patient and his or her doctor. Apparently that applies only as long as the discussion does not go in any direction that Joe doesn’t approve of.

The point is, in all this response, there was not one mention of CLASS, budget or nursing homes! The moral of this story is: Let your representatives know your feelings on the issues – they really welcome your input(?)

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