White House calls Sarah Palin distributor of bad healthcare info

August 12, 2009

The White House is singling out gone-but-not-forgotten Sarah Palin for whipping up some of the opposition to Democratic healthcare proposals. PALIN/

You’ll recall that last week, the former Alaska governor and Republican star said on her Facebook page that the Democrats want to create “death panels” in which bureaucrats would decide end-of-life care issues for old folks. Some of us read about this in the newspaper, because we don’t have a Facebook page.

Obama called this an example of the “scare tactics” that opponents of his healthcare overhaul have come up with and that the last thing he wants to do is pull the plug on grandma, or something like that.

Obama didn’t mention Palin by name, so it came up today at Robert Gibbs’ daily news briefing and he was happy to oblige.

MR. GIBBS: Sarah Palin gave out information that I think many of you all pointed out was wrong just on Friday — that’s one. There’s certainly countless others.

Palin later called for calm among people who attend lawmakers’ town hall meetings about the healthcare plan. But judging from some of the raucous scenes we’ve seen on TV, not everybody got the word.

Photo credit: Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder (Palin at governor’s picnic in Alaska in July)

25 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Mrs. Palin is a true “fear monger” as are a lot of media personalities. It causes one to wonder about the intelligence of mainstream Americans. There is a reason our country is called the United States; however “unity” seems to be impossible with the amount of lies and scandaluous, unfounded comments made every where you turn. The likes of Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, and Tim Russert are nowhere in our world today. Ethics are considered a burden, not an asset.

Posted by Lou in Pacific NW | Report as abusive

if rationing and abortion aren’t the equivalents of death dealing, what is . check out paglia in salon for more palin support.

Posted by massaed | Report as abusive

The President cannot stand it when Sarah is correct. He puts his smooth passwords into his narrative but Americans know that there will be a government run panel making decisions that will impact our health care, call it what you want but Sarah is right again.

Posted by Deborah Alfano | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is looking out for herself, shame on her-she causes a riot over something as important as health care and then makes no more comments…that is so irresponsible and anyone that is supporting her needs to really look at what they want our government to look like. I think that it is really time for her to be removed from the news so we don’t have to hear about her anymore.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

It just shows the power of Sarah — Her facebook comments is all-over!!
Every networks, newspapers and lefties pundits and blogger were cornered to defend themselves even the President and his press secretary.
Sarah is the most powerfull person in American right now.

Posted by alvin | Report as abusive

let’s stop politicking and do the math; since no country has ever taxed or inflated itself out of recession, and even the good ol’ usa has limits on how much it can spend, it should be obvious that some rationing of helath care dollars is going to happen; so-called “death panels,” which will ostensibly be targeting futile expenditures on terminal patients, are just a given. let’s pray that we get spared involuntary “voluntary euthanasia,” as practised in the netherlands.

Posted by jd | Report as abusive

Between the two Facebook entries mentioned in this article, Palin posted another on containing an extensive bibliography supporting her healthcare post.

Anyone care to know what Palin actually reads?

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id =114345578434

Posted by Glen | Report as abusive

The right wing is doing everything it can to associate “Death Panels” with Obama’s health plan. I hope people will use the nickname “Death Panel Palin” and make here even more of a laughing stock than she already is.
Who in their right mind would think that any plan to urge anyone to end their lives sooner would make it through Congress and the courts. It’s so ridiculous. The few states that have passed assisted suicide laws had trouble getting those through their legislatures.
I hope this goes to show that there are those who are trying to fix a problem and there are those who get in the way by using scare tactics. She lost the election. She quit her job and now she’s trying to deny millions healthcare. She’s the real danger!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Three things come to mind: 1. One need not be informed to have an opinion. 2. Rude people are always to be pitied and shunned. 3. After watching these town hall meetings up north, we now know that ignorant red necks do not live only in the southern states.

Posted by Ellen | Report as abusive

It is evident that Sarah Palin never took the time to read the health care bill.

Posted by MO Inkslinger | Report as abusive

Palin is just talking end game. When the government runs out of our money (just printing more will have to come to and end sometime) for the ever increasing cost of health care. It will have no choice but to conserve those dollars (ration care) it is at that point that we will see the truth of this debate, I don’t believe anyone wants to intentionlally hurt people it will just be the reality of a system that is too large and inflexible to meet the enormous demand that will be placed upon it.

Posted by Reasonable | Report as abusive

Like so many naysayers of the new health bill, Sarah Palin did NOT read the bill. The new information that is in the bill is just what I have had to go through with my parents, 86 and 89, Living Will, Health Proxy, durable power of attorney, information on what is available for assistance to keep my parents in their Independant Senior Coop as long as they possibly can. TO ALL THE NAYSAYERS, READ THE BILL!

Posted by Betsy | Report as abusive

Is there any doubt of the impact Sarah Palin has on our political landscape. I just love it when I read Chris (5:16) “I think it is really time for her to be removed from the news, so we don’t have to hear from her anymore.” WOW!
Gee I wonder if Chris is a bureaucrat. Is it possible she may one day be on our Federal Gov’t Healthcare Panel. I wonder what Sarah’s medical options would be with Chris making her decisions for her. I mean if Cris ran Reuters Blogs Sarah’s First Amendment right would be extinguished.
I can’t imagine the perfect individuals that would be corrupt free to be making End-Of-Life recommendations/decisions for any of us. I haven’t seen too many elected officials I would trust. You see if a doctor or an insurance company make a decision we don’t like, we simply find one that will make the choice in healthcare we do like. If Gov’t run healthcare is our only option, Sarah may one day be sitting in front of Chris. Of course Chris would do the right thing, AS SHE SEES IT.

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is a fear monger, the type of American that uses terminology such as “socialism” to scare other Americans. If she and others are against Government managed Health Plans – they should put their money where their mouth is and decline Medicare when they turn 65. I find it greatly hypocritical that many of our politicians are fighting against Obama’s Health Plan. Have they forgotten that our 3 branches of Government (Executive, Judicial, & Legislative) are the recipients of Government managed Health Plans. Also, Military, Federal, State, County & City workers – all enjoy benefits. They too should decline their coverage and opt for a private plan. The Drug companies are making astronomical profits, but I guess they need the money to pay for prime time airspace to tell Americans about diseases they’ve never heard of – and to create more fear which drives purchase intent.

Posted by Veronica | Report as abusive

Please read this bill. Do it in shifts if necessary, but don’t let anyone tell you what it says. You are smarter than anyone in Washington or Alaska for that matter, just read it. The passages causing issues states that Doctors will be compensated via an incentive for end of life discussions. In the town hall meeting yesterday, the President said AARP supports the bill and they don’t. The President said we will be completely out of Iraq in 18 months except for 50,000 troops. He tells us that the economy won’t turn around this year after spending a trillion dollars and now he says its turning around, then it isn’t, then it is, then it isn’t. The President has lost credibility already and now feels a need to attack Palin whom most people are ignoring. Like it or not, Palin is right! It may be a stretch to say it like she did, but she is 100% absolutely right folks.

Posted by CP | Report as abusive

I would like to expand on my message I left above. It is clear we are a divided nation. We are in a computer age which is only improving with technology everyday. It will not be difficult for opposing political parties to be able to identify each and every one of us of where we stand on political issues. The ID Cards Obama will make mandatory might as well have a ‘R’ or a “D’ attached to the front of your card. I have followed politics daily since Watergate. It is quite clear there is nothing sacred in our political landscape. Gov’t is politics. So why would we as individuals, who take our health as a very private matter, bring our medical decisions into the political arena. Sarah Palin’s “Death Panel” remark does not go far enough. Those that are in political power would be very reluctant to give up control of our Healthcare System to their political enemies. If you think your health information is protected, I’ll remind you of the Watergate Break In, the Pentagon Papers, and the 1,500 FBI files sitting in the basement of the Clinton White House. History is prevalent with it’s leaders treating their populous with malevolence. Once a Gov’t run Healthcare system is part of our society, citizens will feel free to object to another’s lifestyle and the medical care they receive. It is best to just say NO!

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

Every article I have read concerning Sarah’s “Death Panel” statement has been completely dishonest. Once again it is all about “Gotcha” reporting. For every person commenting that “it’s evident Palin didn’t read the healthcare bill.” It is evident you didn’t read her Facebook statement. The media clearly does not like her (they wouldn’t write about her if they did), has never printed her Facebook statement in it’s entirety.
NOWHERE in her Facebook statement does she mention the Congressional healthcare bill when she is remarking about the “Death Panel”. The larger news outlets (MSM) depend on certain individuals to report to their agencies non-bias information for them to release to the public. These individuals goal is to come up with a newsworthy story. From the larger news agencies the smaller ones add their commentary. AT NO POINT has the MSM asked Sarah Palin “Where are you Referencing this “Death Panel” from, because they already know the answer and it would fit their narrative of a newsworthy story. They want her to appear unbalanced, simple minded, someone who is not to be taken seriously. If this is what you believe about her, than you have drank their Koolaide.
Sarah’s reference to the “Death Panel” was directed at the reporting of Obama’s Chief Of Staff’s brother Dr. Ezekeil Emanuel, who describes himself as a Communitarian. Emanuel is a health advisor and long time friend to Obama.
He has written articles as recently as January 2009 stating ” Today’s healthcare is provided equally. Where every person has equal access to procedures and treatments. With a government run healthcare SYSTEM we must substitute equality – for the obligations of maintaining a “Healthy Society”. That such a SYSTEM would deny services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.” He go on to add “For reasons of cost containment the government must convene a PANEL which would decide which treatments would no longer be available for less productive citizens if favor of those that could maintain a “Health Society.” This information was just recently reported on conservative news outlets such as FOX News. Dr. Emanuel was much more explicit than I am commenting here.
This news followed by Obama’s statement at a news conference commenting about a 100 year old woman living in Texas received an operation to correct a physical condition, would not have received that operation in a Gov’t run Healthcare System. The participating doctor would have been directed to give her pain medication and send her home. It’s on YOU TUBE.
This is what Sarah Palin was directing her “Death Panel” Facebook statement at. Her son has Down Syndrome. Reading above it is easy for her to interpret her son could get limited care under an Obama run healthcare SYSTEM.
She put this statement on her Facebook page to speak to those who are like minded on this issue, but as I stated earlier there is nothing sacred in the world of politics. The Liberal media saw a “gotcha” moment and SPUN IT to get their newsworthy story to sell their product and have us here passing on the misinformation.
I wish those on the Liberal side would stop for one moment and reflect on the nature of the reporting on Sarah Palin. That fact that she had to give up being Governor of Alaska because the constant harassment of phony ethics complaints made it financially impossible for her to continue. If you wish to eliminate her like Chris, then continue to cheer the MSM of putting out false information to destroy her. Or you can bring some common sense to your thinking and realize Sarah Palin is not the issue. The issue is the people most responsible for keeping you informed constantly “makes things up.”

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

Can we please get to the bottom of this “death panel” thing. All this means is that the new health care bill would provide services so that people can make a living will stating what kind of care they want should they become unable to make that decision when they are sick. That is it – a living will. If you are unfamiliar with that term look it up and let’s move on to a reasonable debate about healthcare. Rumors, lies and misinformation does no good for anyone.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

I can’t believe so many of the people in this country are so ignorant as to think that Sarah Palin is anything more than a fear monger for the health care industry.
Of course we don’t want government panels to determine the care we get…We would rather leave it up to corporate bean counters that get bonuses for all the people they refuse treatment to.

Posted by WildOne | Report as abusive

gvien the size of the bill, i wonder who has read it – in particular, which of the lawmakers has read the oed-sized document in toto? how one can vote on what one has not read would astound anyuone who thinks that this is an issue of health care, but comes as no surprise to those who realise that command and control is the real game here.

Posted by jd | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is determined to stay in the limelight. Unfortunately she will need to brush up her knowledge on a whole range of issues. But time is not on her side as the subjects would need to be studied thoroughly. She does not have the depth of President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They are head and shoulders above her in intellect and charisma. The Republicans need somebody of substance like Condolezza Rice if they really want to occupy the White House in the near future!

Posted by Pancha Chandra Brussels | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is an attractive empty headed dip who’ll spew any kind of garbage just to get publicity & make money! She she couldn’t even serve out the rest of the term in office to serve the people of Alaska who elected her! She can’t seem to cntrol her own family! Just write your book Sarah, collect your cash (since that’s what’s important to you) and fade away…please!!

Posted by Jeanne | Report as abusive

Her job is to run to the far right flank. Appeal to the southern states and the rural Clem and Bettys.
That way the real candidate, whoever that will be, and no matter how ridiculously right he/she will be, will then appear more centered, reasonable and electable by comparison. Then, at the last minute, Palin will endorse the real candidate and hand over her votes.
Yawn.

Posted by Billy Ray | Report as abusive

[...] before she was against them due to the Healthcare Decision Day. As you might guess the White House, msm and Lefty blogs are all over this like ants at a picnic, one example… In olden times, [...]

Posted by Sarah Palin leading them by the nose… « DaTechguy’s Blog | Report as abusive

This President has a tendency to call anyone that does not agree with him the “bad person” – I do not understand how there can be so many interpretations of the points in this bill and that, in my opinion, is the most worrisome issue of all. Mr. Obama claims he will not ration, he will not dictate end of life care, he will not tap our bank accounts, but many reputable news services have in fact listed exact text from the document to the contrary. I believe once we let the government in, they will do what they want because the language is so vague. Therefore, with a bill that seems to have been rushed and a President which tried to bully it through the approval process in addition to language that leaves so much room for interpretation I can not understand how the public should support this bill and I believe it should NOT be passed.

Posted by joe | Report as abusive

If anyone needs to fill out a health care proxy, I found a blank form here: http://pdf.ac/2JhfcA

Posted by ElieFab | Report as abusive