Promoting advanced directives puts decisions in proper hands Its hard to imagine how a compassionate, family-friendly measure a measure that ultimately respects individual rights could be twisted so grossly into the erroneous phrase death panels. But, prepare yourself for more lies and more nonsense, because President Barack Obama has decided to do the right thing and his critics already have resorted to fear-mongering and name-calling. The concept of advanced directives was pioneered in La Crosse, thanks to our two first-class health care institutions. Its a simple concept: An individual, with the help of family, should have the ultimate say in the type of end-of-life care the individual receives. The best way to do that is through a careful consultation, with family and physician, before there is a health crisis while the individual is still capable of having a rational voice in the decision. Too often, those decisions are made when its too late for the individual to make the decisions. Instead, grieving family members are left to make the decision and at times its nothing more than a guess. Would the individual want extraordinary measures taken when the end is near? Why wouldnt we trust the individual in advance and when thinking clearly to make that decision? For those who crusade for the rights of the individual, heres the question: Why are you so opposed to the individual being able to set down on paper, with help from family and physician, the standards and wishes for end-of-life care? More La Crosse Wisconsin Has Highest Rate Of Living Wills, Lowest Cost Of Care Nearly all adults who die in La Crosse, 96 percent of them, die with a completed advance directive. La Crosse health care systems offer a model of efficiency Medicare spent 30% less on average for each beneficiary in the La Crosse area than the national average in 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. It spent 64.5% less than in Miami and 61% less than in McAllen, Texas, the two most costly areas. And it spent 23% less than in the Milwaukee area.