Obama gets personal on Palin’s “death panels”

August 16, 2009

OBAMABarack Obama seems to have taken personally Sarah Palin’s accusations that his administration wants to set up “death panels” for the elderly.

At a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado on Saturday the president got personal — citing his own grandmother, who died shortly before he was elected last year — when refuting charges by the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee about his healthcare reform plans.

“I just lost my grandmother last year.  I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate, and have to struggle with that,” Obama told the crowd.

“So the notion that somehow I ran for public office, or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma?  I mean, when you start making arguments like that, that’s simply dishonest,” he said.

The issue stemmed from a provision in a House of Representatives bill that would have provided government funding for optional counseling on end-of-life care issues such as hospice.

Palin, who has spoken out against Obama’s reform plans, and other critics referred to the process as “death panels.”

Obama, who has refuted the rumor before but is struggling to gain support for his overall healthcare reform agenda, said enough was enough.

“We’ve got enough stuff to deal with without having these kinds of arguments,” he said, without mentioning Palin by name.

Reuters photo by Larry Downing (Obama in Grand Junction, Colorado) 


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/

Eric. Please, sensible? Not only that, the backpedaling by the White House the the screaming of the liberals in congress show there is anything but sense coming out of the democratic party. Even your liberal friends don’t want a co-op.A lot of politicians are trying to paint the republicans into the villains (along with the health insurance companies and old people who protest the town hall meetings), but that is just a diversionary tactic away from the fact the democrats can’t even come together as a party to pass anything. They are their own worst enemy. It’s either the blue dogs or the liberals who won’t support any plan. It’s fun to watch the ship sinking.As the majority of people keep saying, it is better to keep taxes low and have less government in order to get the deficit/debt down, than to pass health care reform.Everyday there are more people (a clear majority) who say they are happy with their own health care plans than anything mucking around in congress.So, isn’t so sensible afterall. I have yet to hear any of these progressive reformers say they want anything to do with co-ops…they only want that elusive “government” plan to go through.I hope none of them get their way. We can’t afford it as a nation and as American citizens…in more ways than one. The American people agree with me. If they didn’t, then a health care bill would already have passed….You know I am right…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

hi, eric h incidentally i had some comments regarding the posting on afghanistan? I Think Sarah is a cool lady,would i vote for her as president no,i din,t vote for Mc Cain, as soon as Romney left the race so did i.Compare Sarah to Boxer or Pelosi for me that says it all,but i amuse myself imaging your reaction when i intentionally include her in a posting. You are correct about my mistrust of politicians,living in CA i occasionally see the discarded skin of a rattlesnake and i would not be surprised if several of of our notable democratic congressmen could do that with out any difficulty. The change of name to the single payment plans or any other plans are going to be snake oil,in the hands of these reptiles,nominate a commission of people with known integrity away from Washington and i might listen. Incidentally i have never had a crab over here that can touch the taste of the ones i used to enjoy were i came from ,god bless.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I wish we would stop discussing the rhetorical words and started discussing the words in the legislation.

Posted by PG | Report as abusive

Brian, glad to here it about Palin. The last public figure I have faith in is George Mitchell. Lobsters and crabs are cheap right now on the east coast, you should have some shipped to you.TC, I noticed you said “your liberal friends” maybe now you’ll understand why I call my self a moderate and not all who disagree with you are screaming liberals. I was never in favor of a government run option but still think the co-op is the best way to go.I still can’t let the “death panel” lie thing go, it’s Swift Boating at it’s best. There never was such a thing and I believe end of life counseling was added to the bill by a Republican but I have to check that out, you both do the same and then we’ll have confirmation.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

TC makes the following comment: “I hope none of them get their way. We can’t afford it as a nation and as American citizens…in more ways than one. The American people agree with me. If they didn’t, then a health care bill would already have passed….You know I am right…”*********Response:*********The US — supposedly the most powerful nation in the world, and supposedly the richest and “best” nation in the world — cannot afford a decent healthcare system that works for everybody?Is this a sick joke?The US was able to put the first man on the moon. The US has created some of the finest medical (and other) technology in the world. Yet the US remains one of only two Western nations (the other being South Africa) that does not have a national healthcare system — and you tell me that the American people CANNOT AFFORD that which every other industrialized nation possesses — a good healthcare system?GIVE ME A BREAK! GET REAL!This has nothing to do with affordability, and everything to do with ideological points-scoring — at the expense of the American people. Sooner or later, they will see through this charade, and sooner or later, President Obama (or a later Democratic President) will implement such a system.PHILIP

Eric. Check what out? There are so many bills mucking around in congress that no ones knows the final outcome. That’s what makes the issues discussed valid. If you think “end of life…death panels” counseling will be benign when you won’t be treated because we, as a nation, have no money, then you will be sadly disappointed and outraged when you are told, “you have lived a good life…”.BTW, your statements are always liberal in scope. You are no moderate.Anyway, Sarah Palin is providing this country a service by bringing attention to the “end game”. Health care will be rationed and old people will be the victims.Also, there is a financial incentive for doctors to give “end of life” counseling. Do you really think that is voluntary? No, it isn’t. Besides, why would that even need to be put into a health car bill? It doesn’t, if it is voluntary, a patient can request it at any time now. It isn’t voluntary, when a doctor strongly recommends it, then doctors up the paperwork in order to get the “money”.You are so naive.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Philip. This quote is from a Reuters news story printed online today regarding the government health care plans throughout the world:”RATIONING IS REALITYBut the rallying cries cannot drown out the hard truth that access to healthcare is restricted everywhere.”There are not unlimited resources in any country to fund unlimited amounts of healthcare for everybody,” said The King’s Fund’s Dixon.”If you can’t get the care you need because a government bureaucrat will not allow the government to pay for the treatment…because of some sliding scale…etc…Then what good is government health care? Answer: It’s worthless.My point is simple. If you think the government can afford this ponzi scheme, then you are naive and you will be very sorry you didn’t speak out against this fiasco when you had a chance.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive