(The Hill)– Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is distancing himself from a memo sent by his office that urged health reform advocates not to advertise new end-of-life counseling regulations to avoid reviving talk of “death panels.”
The weeks-old memo recommended that end-of-life advocates celebrate a “quiet” victory out of concern that Republican leaders would “use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”
Blumenauer now says he regrets the letter’s secretive language, which has only bolstered conservatives’ claims that the Obama administration tried to sneak the provision in under the radar.
“If I had seen the memo, I would have suggested it be worded differently,” Blumenauer told The Hill.
In the memo, first reported on Dec. 26 by The New York Times, Blumenaeur’s office expressed concern new attention to end-of-life care planning could doom a end-of-life provision included in a Medicare regulation issued last month.
“Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response,” the memo read. “The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”