Tales from the Trail

Hang on a sec, Mr. President — Sarah Palin

August 13, 2009

Sarah Palin has issued a robust — and lengthy! — response to President Barack Obama after he accused her of trying to scare old folks for raising questions about “death panels.”

We’ll get to Palin in just a minute because when she talks, people listen. But first, what are death panels, you might ask?

Well, we read through a section of healthcare legislation being considered by the House of Representatives — section 1233 of H.R. 3200 called Advance Care Planning Consultation. It seems vague enough that you can read into it what you want. We’ll link to the section at the bottom for those who want to read more about it. It would allow Medicare to pay for consultations with physicians about end-of-life care while not requiring them.

The question that opponents seem to be raising is whether under this proposal, seniors would be advised that, if they have only so long to live, maybe they shouldn’t bother trying to get expensive treatment that might extend their lives a little bit. It has scared the dickens out of some seniors who, like everybody, generally want to live as long as possible. USA/

Obama at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Tuesday said the legislation is only for voluntary informational purposes and that he is not in favor of “pulling the plug on grandma.”

Back to Palin. She said it is wrong for Obama to say the consultations are voluntary because the legislation lets doctors initiate the chat “and gives them an incentive — money to do so.”

“Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives…. It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen … should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Take a read of Section 1233 – Advance Care Planning Consultation – and tell us what you think it says. 

Photo credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (couple leaves remote area medical health clinic in Virginia)

Comments
69 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I am so glad Gov. Palin is taking the time to write so clearly and thoroughly about this topic. It is nice that we have somebody like her, who is willing to look beyond all the smoke and mirrors and see what’s really being proposed in this health care bill, then fearlessly (even amidst all the ridicule that always comes her way) speak out. Thank God for Sarah.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive
 

If our political discourse were in any way sane, the “death panel” nonsense would be a punch line, evidence of ridiculous people making up pathetic lies. The very phrase would be evidence of a bankrupt, comically desperate movement. It would be, to borrow a phrase, the right’s “Waterloo.”
And yet, conservatives not only take this insanity seriously, they’re actually using it as the basis to oppose health care reform. You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody’s business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn’t already voted for just a few years earlier.
Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? End of life counseling!!
Chuck Grassley, who yesterday pulled the measure on end-of-life counseling from consideration, voted for the ’03 bill. John Boehner, the first GOP leader to raise the specter of “government-encouraged euthanasia,” also voted for the ’03 bill. John Mica (R) of Florida voted for the 2003 bill, and last week he denounced the current House measure for creating Medicare-funded “death counselors.”
If reality had any meaning in modern politics, these “death panel” clowns would be laughed out of government, and humiliated for life. Instead, they’re not only taken seriously, they’re getting media attention, they’re influencing GOP activists, and in Grassley’s case, they’re shaping health care reform policy. There will be no consquences for their reckless stupidity. There never are. The American public has the attention span of a cable television commercial break.

We have become a nation of Katy Abrams.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive
 

If you’ve never been to a Veteran’s hospital, please take a trip to one. After that, go to Methodist, Shriner’s or some other private hospital and make a fair comparison of the two.

That is the difference between Government controlled healthcare and free market healthcare.

Now make your choice.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive
 

Since the MAJORITY of seniors at these town hall meetings do not appreciate my biweekly contribution in FICA tax to their current lifestyles, maybe I should elect officials to office who will allow me to decide the ALLOCATION of my taxes. When their Social Security payments cease and health insurance is cancelled, maybe they will understand the need to revamp the healthcare industry to efficient use my taxes.

Posted by Simeon | Report as abusive
 

Would never trust anything she says.

Posted by cabbie | Report as abusive
 

If Advance Directives are “evil,” why did Sarah Palin praise them last year?

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009  /08/14/sarah-palin-advance-directive-ad vocate/

 

Why are you attacking Sarah Palin? Have you read any part
of this proposal? Among other things, it gives the government the right to access your financial records etc. They are also not telling the truth when they say
that you will be able to keep your own insurance plan
that you currently have. In time, the govt. will drive
the private plans out of business and you will be forced
to take their plan. You will not have a choice of doctor
and will have to wait an extremely long time to see one.
Take a look at the VA hospitals and how they are run
because this will be what they want to shove down our
throats. I know quite a few vets who deal with the VA
hospitals and it is next to impossible to get any care in
a timely manner. Some don’t even use the VA for this very
reason and choose to pay out of their own pocket for their care.
And finally, if this is such a GREAT proposal, why won’t
the members of Congress pledge that they will also be
covered by this plan????? Maybe if they would allow all of us to join theirs plan it would be a different story.
These people (congress) are supposed to represent the
people who elected them and put their trust in them. As
I see it, they are a bunch of self serving misfits who
are only interested in enriching themselves on the backs
of those who put them in office. SHAME ON THEM!

Posted by Amy R. | Report as abusive
 

Scarah Palin Scare Tactics. How much money did SHE get from the insurance industry to say that? People are falling hook, line, and sinker for in$urance company LIE$!!!

The real problem with the health insurance bill is that it doesn’t go far enough. Millions of elderly are very satisfied with their Medicare – it should simply be extended to the rest of the population. It will be far cheaper than providing bonuses to rich insurance execs, who ration care based on whether it will impact their year end profits. And if there are any additional costs they can be easily borne by those making more that $250K per year. (No new Mercedes this year.)

HR676 simply extends Medicare. But it is being ignored because the insurance industry is lobbying to expand its profits, at the expense of Grandma’s heart pills.

Posted by anthony | Report as abusive
 

I’ve been to a VA hospital, I’m a retired Vet. I have not seen any difference between the “private” hospitals and the VA run hospitals.

Other than I have access to people who can make the VA hospitals answer for their mistakes. You can’t do this in the “private” hospitals unless you want to sue them. But your ability to sue them is being curtailed by their washington lobbies who demand congress put a cap on lawsuit rewards. Now what do you do smarty?

Posted by bob | Report as abusive
 

I think both sides are a little ridicules where this bill is concerned. It doesn’t matter what it says, it’s still an intrusion into our lives by an over-grown government that only wants to get bigger. If we let it keep going it will look like Jabba the hut and be as evil.

When I was a kid, people got polio and were disabled for life. The research that stopped polio costs. Somebodie’s got to pay for it and it’s not going to be industry. It may be goverment, but who pays for government? You and me, the ones that work for a living and play by the rules.

Posted by Virginia Gudermuth | Report as abusive
 

Hey Simon; Do you really work? President Bush wanted to do just that with your social security tax but I’ll bet you were against it. I don’t believe anybody is really looking at this bill. They’re either for because they’re democrat or against because they’re republican or non-partisan conservative.
BTW: Social Security and Medicare was a brought to you by the DEMS. I wish we didn’t have to pay $80 a month for my husbands medicare. Before he was eligible we only had to pay $295 a month for insurance coverage for both of us. This is a benefit from his employer.
Save your money buddy. You may live to be 68 someday too. Of course, if you get a really bad illness when you’re 55 the government could let you die.

Posted by Virginia Gudermuth | Report as abusive
 

It is interesting to note from the article, and I have seen the actual statement on the news, that the president doesn’t say he would not sign a health care bill or send a bill back to congress that resembles any of the fears about “pulling the plug on grandma”. The only thing he says is that he “not in favor” of it.

I know a lot of people don’t pay attention to the words he uses (and he is good at it…), but all he is saying is that he opposes it…but will sign it if even if it is in there. So the fears are valid. In 1930′s Germany, the same kinds wording and assurances of fears were there like they are today…and look what happened to Germany? We don’t need to risk going that again.

He also uses words like “efficiency” when it comes to health car decisions. That is just another word for rationing when the government cannot pay for the health care when people (seniors) need it most. My Canadian relatives love to get the letters from the government when they reach an age milestone informing them of the care and procedures they are not longer eligible for. Don’t think the same thing won’t happen here.

I also don’t see how the president can make any assurances about what will or will not be in his universal government health care program. There are so many versions running through congress that no one knows what will emerge. So, all his flowery town hall meetings just prove he is a salesman, but we don’t know what he is selling us. The majority of people agree with me because they don’t know or want what he is selling either.

So, Sarah Palin is providing a service to the majority of Americans who are rightfully afraid of what the government is trying to force on us. Regardless of what the media wants you to believe, this is a debate and the people are speaking loudly and clearly.

It is interesting to note that when a conservative speaker is speaking at a place, such as Columbia University, the students don’t speak while he is speaking…they scream loudly and continuously so the speaker cannot speak a word. That hasn’t happened at the congressional town hall meetings. No matter what, words are being spoken unlike the liberals who disrupt conservatives from speaking.

So, beware of this health care plan, you will be disappointed with the result…but then it will be too late to change it….

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

Here is the current Rasmussen polling regarding the congressional health care town hall meetings:

“As for the protesters at congressional town hall meetings, 49% believe they are genuinely expressing the views of their neighbors, while 37% think they’ve been put up to it by special interest groups and lobbyists. One surprising by-product of the debate over changing the system is that confidence in the U.S. health care system has grown over the past few months. That may be because when it comes to health care decisions, 51% fear the government more than they fear private insurance companies. Forty-one percent (41%) hold the opposite view.”

Further proof the majority of Americans don’t want anything to do with the current health care reform proposals mucking about in congress.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a health care provider initiating a conversation with a senior patient about advance care directives or end of life decisions. This information would be helpful to the family and the physician anytime that an individual is not able to communicate (stroke,etc). An advance directive was invaluable to me during my mother’s last years when she was in and out of hospitals and a nursing home, because I knew her wishes regarding life support. Sarah Palin is tiresome.

Posted by sandy keirns | Report as abusive
 

All of this proves the Sarah Palin does indeed wear a tinfoil hat and knows she can see Russia from her house. This is all so much BS. Do you really think the government is going to form ‘death squads’ (idiot Palin’s words) and that would stand the light of day….Really?

Posted by Scott MInium | Report as abusive
 

Unlike many people, I did survive the current Social Security ‘Death Panel’. My doctor told me I had NASH and without a liver transplant I had 0-12 months to live.

Although I was clearly eligible for SS Disability, Social Security did their waiting game. On the average, this takes at least 2 years and 2 appeals and you may still lose. Everyone knows that the government procrastinates, hoping the taxpayer will die and forfeit a lifetime of taxes. I did survive and now collect disability but you will never convince me that government ‘Death Panels’ don’t exist.

FIGHT against the dying of the light!

Posted by Faye Tilly Ill | Report as abusive
 

So sad that the next topic down from this is about the war in Afghanistan and has received only 3 comments. While this thread is overrun by screaming from both sides. As far as I know no bill has been finalized and most people haven’t read what has been proposed, which in my mind nullifies all 66 or so comments previous to this one.
Another case of people arguing about something which they know little about.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” Albert Einstein

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive
 

My Eldest brother passed away recently, during one of his many lengthy stays in a Kansas hospital, one of the Physicians blatantly told my Mother, “Why not just let him die, He is taking up space needed by others (in dialysis)! He is not a productive person.” My brother had brain damage caused by two County Hospital nurses who kept him from being born and deprived him of oxygen. Oh yes, they will try to save money over lives any day of the week. He lived about 8 years after the doctor would have pulled the plug.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive
 

Actually Eric, I already said there were many versions running through congress and that the president can’t really tell us what a health care bill will look like, so that makes him a salesman.

You are only echoing what I have already said before about the health care bill and the volume of comments to other blog stories. Thanks for echoing what I have already said many times….

Posted by TC | Report as abusive
 

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