Medicare Finalizes Rule to Pay for End-of-Life Talks

The Obama administration on Friday finalized a rule allowing Medicare to pay for end-of-life discussions between patients and doctors.

The proposal has been controversial in the past, leading to charges of “death panels,” but has since cooled down politically.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed in July to allow Medicare to start reimbursing doctors when they have discussions with patients about their end-of-life options, such as whether they want to be kept on life support. CMS on Friday finalized that rule.

Lawmakers including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) have long pushed for the change.

CMS noted Friday that the rule is “consistent with recommendations from a wide range of stakeholders and bipartisan members of Congress.”