• BT Livermore
When healthcare hysteric Betsy McCaughey graced the Daily Show back in August and claimed the infamous "death panel" clause was right there on page 425 of the healthcare bill, she pointed out a passage written by none other than Portland's Congressional Rep Earl Blumenauer. When I reported on the Oregon roots of the national death panel controversy back then, it looked like the liars were losing and Blumenauer's common sense idea to pay doctors for the time spent discussing end-of-life options would stay in the healthcare bill.

But now, after the flames of the town halls have died down, Blumenauer's end-of-life care clause might get quietly killed after all. In an Oregonian article this morning, Earl B. signaled that he was willing to call it quits on fighting for his policy. From the piece: "Blumenauer said he could vote for a bill without his provision if it address [sic] the primary, and larger issues — covering most, if not all, of the 47 million uninsured people in America and providing mechanisms to control spiraling health care costs."

If even the end-of-life care clause's main sponsor is okaying support of the bill without that section, things can't be going well for the idea up on Capitol Hill. Maybe he's doing the right thing politically—the end-of-life care clause is really a tiny piece of a much larger bill—but what the defeat would say is troubling: Congress and the Senate bowed to whacko town hall liars when making an important policy decision.

UPDATE 12:08 PM: Representative Blumenauer himself called just a minute ago to clarify that despite saying he'll support a healthcare bill that does not include end-of-life care coverage, he is still pushing to include the significant clause in the healthcare bill. "I have no intention of allowing something that makes so much sense for senior citizens and their families to be scuttled because people are lying about it. I don't know who go what impression but I'm not letting it go," says Blumenauer, adding that he had three meetings yesterday on this issue. "This is not the single most important thing in the bill, there are several pieces I'm working on that I think are more important, but I'm not going to make it easy for them to rip it out." Good to hear!