Legislation Tracker

A provision in the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare) would have paid physicians to provide Medicare patients with voluntary counseling about living wills, advance directives and end-of-life care options. This sensible, compassionate idea, supported by the American Medical Association, became controversial after ACA opponents falsely claimed that the law would legalize euthanasia by creating "death panels," government bureaucrats who would decide who would live and die. Although “death panels” was named 2009 “Lie of the Year” by fact-checkers, 30% of Americans believed that the ACA created death panels. The end-of-life planning provision was stricken from the ACA before it became law in 2010. Medicare rules were later amended so that advanced care planning is now covered as either part of a patient's Medicare Wellness Visit or under Medicare Part B.

There have been efforts to enact legislation at the state and federal level to support end-of-life planning.  We follow those developments here.

Federal laws

Senate bill 4945 - Failed 12/20 - would have expanded programs in the Department of Health and Human Services that support and promote end-of-life care and advance care planning. Read more.

State laws

New Jersey S-3116 and S-3117 - Effective 7/2020 - Requires medical facilities to discuss end-of-life issues and ERs to discuss palliative care. Read more.