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White House Denies 'Death Panels' Policy, Defends End-of-Life Planning

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After a New York Times story sparked widespread speculation that the White House was walking back on its pledge to avoid so-called "death panels" in its health care overhaul policy, the White House Monday denied that its policy to reimburse doctors for end-of-life counseling sessions with seniors is something new.

Instead, the Obama White House says the new directive actually stems from a plan the Bush administration signed off on that included end-of-life counseling under Medicare.

“The only thing new here is a regulation allowing the discussions ... to happen in the context of the new annual wellness visit created by the Affordable Care Act,” White House spokesman Reid Cherlin told The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, MSNBC weighed in to the debate today, dismissing the "death panels" rumor as right-wing fodder:

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