Why not ask those very folks for their opinion then Denise:
Mr. DAVE AUTRY (Deputy National Director of Communications, Disabled American Veterans): It's a tempest in a teapot as far as I'm concerned, personally.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SHAPIRO: That's Dave Autry of Disabled American Veterans. More than 1,500 members are meeting in Denver this week for the group's annual convention. And Autry says the VA guide has gotten almost zero attention.
Mr. AUTRY: There are some people who have expressed concern to us that it's being used by some people as ammunition for the argument that government intervention in health care will result in pulling the plug on granny or, in this case, maybe grandfather who stormed the beaches of Normandy. And I think our members, by and large, understand that there are some political undercurrents that are, you know, certainly out of our purview.
SHAPIRO: The lobbying group for disabled veterans is often critical of the VA. But Autry says veterans trust the VA on this issue because it's been a leader in promoting good geriatric and end-of-life care.
Over the weekend, cable news pundits bashed the continued use of VA's end-of-life care planning manual, "Your Life, Your Choices," mislabeling the handbook as "Obama's Death Book for Veterans." AMVETS would like to set the record straight on this handbook, which has been in use with the VA for more than a decade.
"Your Life, Your Choices" is a document designed to help veterans draft a living will to determine how they will be cared for, should they be unable to make decisions for themselves. The document is very similar to documents offered by major health care providers across the U.S., including the sections dealing with end-of-life care. The book was originally issued in 1997. In 2007, the Bush Administration commissioned a panel to review the book. The panel overwhelmingly praised the manual's benefits and decided to continue circulation.
Last week, an op-ed was published in the Wall Street Journal by Jim Towey, founder of the non-profit "Aging With Dignity." Towey's group disagreed with the continued circulation of "Your Life, Your Choices," purporting that President Obama has recommissioned the handbook. This assertion is false. "Your Life, Your Choices" was continually circulated under the Bush Administration. Towey's motives in publishing his misleading op-ed weren't entirely benevolent. "Aging With Dignity" has its own guidebook to end-of-life care called "Five Wishes," which is available for sale on Towey's Web site. This mess is the latest act of political grandstanding, which has derailed critical work on veterans' issues.
In the op-ed and on Fox News, critics took many passages from "Your Life, Your Choices" out of context, leading viewers to believe that the book advocated assisted suicide and "pulling the plug" on aging veterans. Both of these assertions are, again, false. The book outlines all aspects of end-of-life care, including religious obligations. It advises veterans to discuss end-of-life care with their religious leaders and to suggests ways to have difficult conversations with loved ones.
There is one line in the book that addresses assisted suicide by pointing out that such procedures are illegal and irrelevant to the contents of the book, since living wills are for people who can no longer speak for themselves.
Distorting the Purpose of Veterans Affairs ‘Your Life, Your Choices.’. Recently, some folks have been distorting the purpose of a Veterans Affairs planning tool called ‘Your Life, Your Choices.’ The booklet is designed to help Veterans deal with excruciating questions about what kind of health care they would like to receive if they are unable to make decisions for themselves, a topic that Secretary Shinseki takes very seriously as we continue to create a 21st Century Department of Veterans' Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation's veterans have earned. The document was developed under a federally funded research grant over a decade ago and in 2007, the Veterans Health Administration convened an outside panel of experts to review the tool and assess its merits. Overwhelmingly, the panel of experts, which included a diverse group from the faith based and medical communities, praised ‘Your Life, Your Choices’ and endorsed its use in the Veterans Health Administration. Your Life, Your Choices’ is not an Advance Directive or Living Will, it is an educational resource. The National Advance Directive that the VA utilizes today is the same document that was authorized by the Bush Administration in 2006.
[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (08-26-2009 07:20 AM).]