A substantial portion of our health care bill is the cost of the last few weeks of life. If citizens were given the right to be fully informed and then allowed to make their own end-of-life decisions, we could save in excess of a $100 billion a year. Unfortunately, less than a third of terminal patients have a living will and their fate is determined by family members driven by guilt to make every attempt to keep them alive and doctors who are following their Hypocritic Oath and religious beliefs.
I propose that filing a living will become a requirement to join Medicare. At the time they sign up, they would be given a booklet describing what a living will is and why this is an important decision to make in advance. They would be encouraged to confer with family members and their clergy person. They would then be required to fill in a form specifying their wishes within 6 months to remain enrolled. The form would include a check box to leave everything as is.