Are people acting as if it is something new, or are they just saying they disagree with it?
I agree with Asystole RN and the others who say this is not right. I don't care who "gatekeeps" healthcare. It should not be gatekept. When we endorse gatekeeping of healthcare - whether it is "because it is what we do", or based on financial concerns, or based on our conception of someone else's quality of life? We are denying individuals and families the right to make their own decisions on treatment.
Doctors consult with patients. They give the facts as best they see them. Patients then decide - aggressive treatment, or not? risky surgery or palliative care? A few more months as "me" or a few more years possibly with no memory? Full code, or DNR? Patients and their doctors and families make these decisions every day, and that's the way it should be, in my view.
If people are making healthcare decisions based on money, whether as patients or as gatekeepers, we need to do something to fix our fiscal problems as a society so this doesn't happen anymore. A lot of people want to say we "can't do that", but I believe we can. The choices our policy makers have made to allow our nation to go unprotected, to ship hundreds of millions of jobs overseas, and to cut vital social programs to the bone while spending close to 4 quadrillion dollars propping up foreign wars and a monetarist system that has been on its way to demise since 1971 are just that - choices.
If people are not adequately educated about their end of life options while they are still young enough to think things through and make some informed decisions, the health care community - particularly doctors - needs to make some changes so people have the information they need.
Also, not sure what all the arguing back and forth about "brain dead" patients is about? Patients who are brain dead are dead. Some become organ donors, all are declared dead after a rigorous workup confirms they are indeed truly brain dead and a certain interval has passed, no? I believe the controversy is more around those who are classified as "chronically vegetative".