End-of-Life Care: National Discussion and Debate Series

End-of-Life Care: National Discussion and Debate Series

Rising budget deficits have become a principal concern of the American people in recent months, and are already a cause célèbre for politicians in both parties ahead of this year’s midterm elections. Yet the current round of health care negotiations has largely sidestepped one of the most costly elements in health spending: end-of-life patient care.

Resolved: The United States must ration costly end-of-life care

Arguing for the resolution:

Arthur Caplan is the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. The Associate Director of the Hastings Center from 1984 to 1987, Caplan also taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia. Caplan has written or edited 29 books, including Smart Mice Not So Smart People (2006) and the Penn Guide to Bioethics (2009), and over 500 journal papers.

Ira Byock is Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Professor at Dartmouth Medical School. He is a past president (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He served previously as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care (1996-2006), a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Byock is the author of numerous books and articles on the ethics and practice of hospice, palliative and end-of-life care, including Dying Well (1997) and The Four Things That Matter Most (2004).

Arguing against the resolution:

Ken Connor is Chairman of The Center for a Just Society, and a board certified civil trial attorney affiliated with the law firm of Marks Balette & Giessel, P.C., which represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. He served as President of the Family Research Council from 2000 to 2003. Connor was the lead attorney representing Gov. Jeb Bush in defense of “Terri's Law,” the legislation named for Terri Schiavo. Connor is the author of Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty (2004).

Marie Hilliard is Director of Bioethics and Public Policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. She served two terms as an elected president of both the Connecticut League for Nursing and the Statewide Steering Committee of the Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care. She is the former Chair of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Hilliard holds graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies, Canon Law and Professional Higher Education Administration.


Susan Dentzer is Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation's leading peer-reviewed journal focused on the intersection of health, health care and health policy. Before joining Health Affairs in 2009, Dentzer was on-air Health Correspondent for PBS NewsHour. She also served as Chief Economics Correspondent and Economics Columnist for U.S. News & World Report, and as a senior writer at Newsweek. Dentzer chairs the Board of Directors of the Global Health Council, the largest membership organization of groups involved in global health.