The First Draft: Before Obama’s speech, Sarah Palin brings up “death panels”

September 9, 2009

PALIN/As Washington focuses on President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on healthcare reform, another voice is demanding to be heard — or at least read — on this same subject.

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and former Republican vice-presidential candidate, weighed in on her “fundamental” disagreement with the president’s plan. And yes, she brought up those “death panels” that raised such a furor when she mentioned them in a Facebook post in August.

Writing in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Palin took aim at the Obama administration’s idea for a congressionally appointed Independent Medicare Advisory Panel, saying this would be “an unelected unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs.”

She cited an April New York Times article that quoted Obama as saying this panel would guide medical decisions regarding the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives.

“Given such statements,” Palin wrote, “is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats’ proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their healthcare by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans.”

USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMAThe “death panels” idea has been debunked by voices inside and outside the political establishment, and by Obama himself, who has said in the bluntest possible language that his healthcare plan would not “pull the plug on grandma.”

Palin’s Wall Street Journal column also questions whether the Obama healthcare plan will cut costs, and accuses Democrats of wanting to solve this problem with more government spending. But the “death panels” trope is likely to be the one to raise alarms — as it has in the past.

So today’s question: what is this latest missive from Palin meant to achieve? Steal the president’s thunder? Raise her own policy profile? Keep her before the public? Make her a standard-bearer, outside elected government, for those who oppose healthcare reform? Let us know what you think.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Nathaniel Wilder (Sarah Palin at the annual Governor’s Picnic in Fairbanks, Alaska, July 26, 2009)

REUTERS/Carlos Barria (A supporter of the health care reform holds a sign outside a health care town hall meeting with U.S. congressman Kendrick Meeks (R-FL) in Miami, April 9, 2009)


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Sarah Palin is nothing more that a nut case! Her rantings and disjointed missives from the past should have proven this to most sane peoples of the civilized world. By continuiing to publish her diatribes against others, you do nothing more that add credence to her own special brand of insanity!

Posted by E Moody | Report as abusive

I say NO to the healthcare proposal.
TOO MUCH PORK ADDED TO IT that we don’t know anything about.
We need an anti-pork bill passed to eliminate any attachments to a bill.

The Republicans and Democrats should be forced into being one party-they already are behind closed doors or things would have improved over time. They have raped our tax base for too many decades.

Term limit bill needed for ALL POLITICIANS-federal,state,and local. Maximum 4 years PUBLIC SERVICE.

I think most people would vote for a new healthcare proposal IF THEY COULD ACTUALLY SEE how it would improve the system.

Flat tax system needed-IRS takes and keeps taxes from each paycheck. NO filing required-sorry accountants, too many loopholes in system for the wealthiers.

SIMPLIFY everything and our tax base will grow again.

-Independent voter

Posted by syasenka | Report as abusive

Interesting that the only option for Ms. Palin’s comments are that she has some sort of hidden agenda. How about something we are not used to from our government? Honest opinion not predicated on a poll of what the Democrats or Republicans want to hear? If you want a disjointed missive just look at the legislation coming out of our Congress.

Posted by M. McGovern | Report as abusive

Whatever you want to call them, there will be the ‘panels’ Palin described if the President’s “plan” goes through. He loves to say there will be no ‘death panels’ because of the technicality that they will not carry that label–just another marketing teick by Obama and dishonest to Americans.

Posted by Tim Hansen | Report as abusive

What is up with this woman? Is she just insane, or seriously ignorant?
Its one thing to debate proposals, but Palin is outright spreading lies, and (it seems intentionally) distorting the issues.
I find this totally repulsive.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

i have been a long time observer of american political life and have always been put off by the attention given to declarations made by people that are not very intelligent and kowledgeable (Palin) Some even become presidents (Bush) and even though they sound incompetent and intelluctually challenged they manage to have followers (and even manage to get re-elected). this will never cease to baffle me. you have to take examinations to teach but not to run a country so powerful as the USA. It’s very scary when you consider that this country owns half of the world’s armement.

Posted by visitor | Report as abusive

This woman is truly frightening. I fully agree that the more you publish her insane rantings, the more credence you give to her claims. Please stop feeding the fuel of her fear tactics. She should be condemned for the amount of older citizens she has raised into a frenzy over her misinformation.

Posted by J. Warncke | Report as abusive

President Obama did say the things Sahah Palin posted as having been said….these people of his choice might not have medical background just financial…Could Sarah possible (with no other motive) just be trying to inform the American people to watch and read to get the truth and not accept a smile or joke as truth! I dare to think so!!!!

Posted by Diane Smith | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin just wants to be a celebrity. If she really wanted to help people, she’d have stayed in her job. Notice that none of her comments are constructive. All they are meant to do is bring down the President.

Posted by Kyle | Report as abusive

Per AP news “Americans would be fined up to $3,800 for failing to buy health insurance under a plan that circulated in Congress on Tuesday as President Barack Obama met Democratic leaders to search for ways to salvage his health care overhaul.”

What about those of us who follow a strictly naturopathic path and don’t need health insurance….because our cures for dis-ease are never covered by insurers anyway? Government is way stepping over its constitutional boundaries.

Recall Election now!

Posted by LoveMyGOP | Report as abusive

I find the whole conservative push against a public option vnery baffling. I have been a republican my entire life voting for Regan, Bush, Bush Jr, and McCain. I find it astounding that my fellow conservatives don’t see the benefit to the economy and individual freedom that a public option brings. Rather simply put: If I am no longer dependent on my employer for benefits (which they shrink every year) I am FREE. I can work anywhere I choose without factoring in health benefits as part of my compensation. This might even bring a host of big company professionals into the market as small business owners or employees. My health care becomes portable, I don’t have to switch providers with every promotion and transfer (more than 10 in the last 20 years). I have a voice in my benefits because I can VOTE for candidates that support my views and needs (maybe with so much at stake the American public would actually show up at the voting booth and pay attention!) If I choose to buy more coverage in the private sector I can. Support FREEDOM: free movement of labor, ideas, and talent without the worry of “will my employer provide health care”!

Posted by baffledconservative | Report as abusive

“visitor”,20 years ago i considered myself a visitor and had a very negative anti American point of view,now i am an American citizen.Could you be a little bit more specific and suggest a county that we should study as a alternative,there a lot out there that do not fill this role ,i know because a have experienced many.But one thing that seems to prevail in american critics is ,they have never been anywhere else or, like me they had never been here.If you built a bridge from here to lots of these countries you could not get on the bridge to get away for the people coming this way,this applies to europe as well.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The reason why Sarah Palin is bringing up the “death panel” issue is that it was funded in the Stimulus Bill and is a very real threat to the elderly and the chronically ill. Yes, it’s real!!! Obama has said he wants to lower costs of his prograsm and the only way to do this is to cut expenses of Obama-care. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, will head up the “ethics” group that will determine whether treatment will be provided or withheld from these elderly or chronically ill cases. Dr. Emanuel has publically stated he thinks the Hippocratic Oath will only get in the way of these kinds of decisions. Do we have a problem here, or what??? Kudos to Sarah Palin for alerting us to this impending threat!!!

Posted by Al Fresco | Report as abusive

I find it interesting that you would disparage someone like Palin or Bush. Politics aside these folks were legally (yes legally) elected by their state or country. Yet you have no comments for the comedians on SNL, Mr. Mare or any of the comedic news organizations or actors. I guess free speech or the ability to state your opinion doesn’t exist in your world unless it matches yours. As to the health care I for one do not and cannot agree to “Reinvent the Wheel” How about instead we look at what is currently working and improve what’s not working. You may say “what a simplistic approach” but isn’t that always the best way. By the way, have you read the bill?

Posted by P. Klein | Report as abusive

Government-runned health care does not equate freedom! Who do you think will be paying for all these benefits?

Consider what it would look like if more money were left in your pockets….you could even self-fund your own benefits. If government get their hands into this sector of our industry, you can count on less health care and more bureaucracy. In other words, the health sector will shrink dramatically, and govenment will grow ever larger!

If you want a representative idea of how efficiently and effectively government operates….remember CASH FOR CLUNKERS.

Posted by LoveMyGOP | Report as abusive

It’s time to look at what will happen to us if Obama-care becomes law. We will lose 5 Freedoms as follows:
1. Freedom to choose what’s in your particular plan. The government will do it for you. You have no say.
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living. New “community ratings” determined by the government will force the young to pay higher rates to compensate for the higher health care costs incurred by the seniors.
3. Freedom to choose higher deductibles. Higher deductibles will currently lower private insurer premium costs but under the Obama, government, plan, deductibles aren’t allowed. “One size fits all” they say.
4. Freedom to keep your existing private insurance plan. Under the Obama-care plan, if you change your policy OR if your insurance company drops you from their health insurance rolls for any reason, you are automatically required to join the Obama-care government plan. No exceptions allowed. Thus, everyone will eventually have Obama-care, like it or not.
5. Freedom to choose your own doctor. Under Obama-care, the government will assign one to you. Say “goodbye” to your family doctor.A “health care commissioner” will determine whether you will or won’t receive treatment.
Now, isn’t it just wonderful what Obama has in store for us???

Posted by Al Fresco | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is absolutely right about the death panels. Check out the youtube clip entitled ‘Obama depopulation policy exposed’. Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, brother of white house staffer Rahm Emmanuel, makes a cowardly exit from a discussion on Obama’s proposed health care plan, when a historian accused him of advocating Nazi policies regarding the elderly and chronically ill. Wake up America: the fourth Reich has mobilised and is intent on destroying our nation.

Posted by Roxanne Daley | Report as abusive

Palin is no more than a media whore looking to cash in on her 15 minutes of fame. What an airhead……..she would make a good partner for Hannity or O’reilly….could possibly make them look smarter.

Posted by bullwinkle | Report as abusive

Thanks, baffledconservative, it’s encouraging to see that not all conservative thinkers have joined the Glenn Beck Crazy Coalition. I have asked many of the other conservatives on this blog why the consecutive conservative governments in Canada, Germany, Spain, France, and others have not done away with their public health services, and all I get back is the usual ration of Rick Scott talking points, but no real facts to back them up. The fact is, and you have expressed this in your post, that the insurance/private hospital lobby has a stranglehold on healthcare in America, and they are not going to let go of any market share without a fight. In fact, they are now looking at this as a historic opportunity to make their monopoly permanent. I posted on another thread that the “Baucus Bill” that Limbaugh has spent his entire show today blubbering about, was written by Liz Fowler, who was a VP at Wellpoint up until February, 2008, when she came to work for Max Baucus. By all means, read the bill. It is a gravy train for the insurance companies, not a socialized takeover of American healthcare.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

This is ridiculous. Death Panels? Are you kidding me? Don’t you all know that when an elderly person is near his or her end he or she is allowed certain measures that are now controlled by private insurance companies. There have been countless incidents where a person is not allowed access to certain medical procedure due to lack of coverage. It happens all the time. Most of the time in hospitals with the elderly. It is easier for a doctor to deny access or to not even suggest a remedy due to the fact it could never be covered. Death Panels is a story made up by people who fear a change that need to happen. The money you MIGHT spend to support a healthcare bill that would cover us all if WE WANT is negligible compared to what is being made and manipulated by your insurance company. Unbelievable the lies and stories that get sent out there. And yes I have read the bill.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

There should be more pro family and pro USA oriented politicians like Sarah today. We need them badly. The country is been reformed similar to the Russian “reforms” long time ago (look at pictures of Lenin, he has the same posture as Obama – “inspiring”).

Revolutionary health care reforms are extremely big step. None of the people in the Congress today has the expertise to deal with this. All they know these days is to lobby for their own interests.

Free for all government health care also means that you have to compete for medical attention with all illegal immigrants. All it takes is for them to scream “this is racist” and you lose. This will definitely divide the country for good.

Posted by Beck | Report as abusive

This woman is a total nut job, the whole country should figure some way to “thank” John McCain for bringing her to the national scene, by thank I mean maybe incase him in Ice and then send him to Alaska….

Posted by fred Jeffries | Report as abusive

@AL Fresco – let’s look at each of your claims about “Lost Freedoms”.

1. Freedom to choose what’s in your particular plan. The government will do it for you. You have no say.

WRONG. Private plans will still be private plans. You can choose any one you want. IF there ends up being a public option, that will just be an additional choice. If it’s a better choice for you, you can take it. If it isn’t then don’t. But you will have to pick something (if you’re employed).

2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living. New “community ratings” determined by the government will force the young to pay higher rates to compensate for the higher health care costs incurred by the seniors.

THATS WHAT YOU HAVE TODAY. It’s called insurance. You pool money together and the least healthy people take out more than the most healthy people. And by the way, if we do nothing, then Medicare costs will dominate all government spending in a few decades.

3. Freedom to choose higher deductibles. Higher deductibles will currently lower private insurer premium costs but under the Obama, government, plan, deductibles aren’t allowed. “One size fits all” they say.

WRONG. Deductibles are certainly allowed.

4. Freedom to keep your existing private insurance plan. Under the Obama-care plan, if you change your policy OR if your insurance company drops you from their health insurance rolls for any reason, you are automatically required to join the Obama-care government plan. No exceptions allowed. Thus, everyone will eventually have Obama-care, like it or not.

WRONG. You can switch from a public option (if it even exists) to a private plan. And it will be HARDER for insurance companies to drop you from their rolls. (They do this today to weed out the sickest people who need the most care, to improve their profits, hurting US).

5. Freedom to choose your own doctor. Under Obama-care, the government will assign one to you. Say “goodbye” to your family doctor.A “health care commissioner” will determine whether you will or won’t receive treatment.
Now, isn’t it just wonderful what Obama has in store for us???

WRONG WRONG WRONG. You’re confusing the payor and the provider. And by the way, today an insurance bureaucrat decides if you receive treatment or not. And their motive is NOT the health of the patient.

Posted by AMB | Report as abusive

Why in earth is any credence being given to this crackpot whose only strategy is to stir up the tin-foil crowd? Isn’t she the one who gave us Joe the Plumber? Someone should tell her that the strategy backfired completely in 2008, and once the Obama machine gets going (provided the Democrats don’t stab their prez in the back, asthey are wont to do), I believe this is exactly what will happen again. There is a silent majority of decent Americans who understand that the USA has to get on the ball with healthcare and that pulling bogeymen out of closets is not an argument. It’s a hallucination.

Posted by Talleyrand | Report as abusive

Death Panels are already at work it’s called the Health Insuarnce Companys. And all the GOPers are defending the Health Insurance CO. That’s the part I dont understand. Trust the Corporations like M. Steele say. Yeah Right!

Posted by Bobo | Report as abusive

Palin and her camp are distract from the problem facing the nation. What solution has Palin proffers? She should saying loud and clear. She should stop making those nonsense statements. After all, she is a quitter and I pity those who still led her their ears.

Posted by fred | Report as abusive

Humm, the anti-spam word for this posting was BROAD….

… regardless, the USA needs more Palin types to keep us from getting sucked into the rhetoric, glitz and pomp of the socialist hord in Washington. Palin is smart, good looking, fiesty, and can debate with the best. Whether you agree with her philosophy and politics doesnt matter. What does matter is that she provides a position to analyze and debate. Per previous two postings – The only NUT JOBS or CRACKPOTS in this country are the ones so wrapped up in their own dogma that they have quit thinking and questioning. Good for Palin and every other person out there who keeps Freedom of Speech alive, and the pompous dismissives at bay.

Posted by Ina Laska | Report as abusive

There is NOTHING that the government can do better than a truly free citizen.

Posted by Jeffry | Report as abusive

We already have and have had “Death Panels” for years if not decades. It’s called managed care the mainstay of insurance reinbursement. Managed care also rations monies for all health care.

Posted by J Sax | Report as abusive

America has Death Panels – the monopoly of private health insurance. They are the reason Americans have the highest health costs in the world and why over 40 million Americans enjoy no health coverage. I live in Canada and, last time I checked, our old and sick were not being euthanized by the government as part of our national healthcare strategy – the whole Obamacare=Nazism argument is as hysterical as it is weak.

Posted by Johnhayte | Report as abusive

Second hand, Obama’s plan seems to call for a panel to set general policy, never to consider individual cases.

We need “death panels,” I fully support them and I have no desire to double my burden on Society to gain a final 6 months of life.

Certain corrupt people demand pie in the sky and who cares what it will cost, so long as it doesn’t cost them, now. (Remind you of various people who brought about the recession?)

I think death panels should be a customer option when buying insurance. You want that last 6 months of life? You pay twice as much from now until then and you get it. No joining late. Any takers? On Medicare/Medicaid? I wonder what you’d do if we offered you the cash, maybe $500/month.

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive

To bring the death panel before the speech,!!!
It is a fair game!!!!!!

Posted by Lush aliaj | Report as abusive

Since when does the Government run anything to the advantage of the people. It’s a loose cannon with no accountability and a blank checkbook we have to balance.
Let the public vote for it if it is so critical and needed by the people and for the people.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

check out the California Nurses Association website

We already have death panels. Have had them for years.
More Palin and the RepubliCONs trying to avoid talking about the truth.
When did the republicans become so afraid of talking and the truth?

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

How gullible and naive of Deborah Zaborenko. This is the same narcisistic, out-of-touch, leftist guy who is such a spineless coward, that his voting record in the senate shows he repeatedly voted “present” on controversial topics, but only in Illinois it is counted a no. this is the guy who can’t look you in the eye and speak w/o his teleprompter, and has never managed anything. How ironic that someone like the author with Ukrainian background would be so gullible. This guy is the one who voted that the baby who survived having scissors jammed into its brain, and any other babies that survived a botched abortion would not then have protection as a baby outside the womb. This is the same guy who has an aunt living here illegally in the projects, and a half brother in Africa who is below poverty level and who after campaigning to lower the number of abortions, sent 80 million overseas to help them stab scissors into the necks of their babies. The same one who spent more money in 7 months than Bush did in 8 years with Katrina, 911 and two wars. The same guy who supports a government run plan and appoints self-proclaimed communists to key positions, will have government officials rationing care and deciding what treatment your mother gets. Call it what you like. Abortion and euthanasia by any other name is still murder.

Posted by dlozanne | Report as abusive

What is the issue? The present administration is set on making the medical services presently available equal for all Americans. If we are going to make services equal for all why should the medical profession be chosen first? Equality in respect to the law is what America as a democracy is all about. Equality in the courts means that all Americans would have the same chance, the same tye of representation in court with the same panels to decide the nature of my appeal not the nature of my health. Criminals would no longer have the luxury of having a team of lawyers buying and handling their case. Equalization of law opportunities would bring equality into a complex system and hence additional justice for all.
The democrats want to make my health care equal to others while ignoring the inequalities of every other aspect of America including the legal system. This is really socialism for the foolish.
Palin doesn’t want to suggest equality for the American citizen in the courtroom. But Sarah please note, justice is not for the individual but of the people. Tell Obama that if he wants some sort of socialization the Republicans suggest that he begin with the legal system. This is consonant with the true American goals of freedom, liberty and equality before the law. We will see if Obama wishes to bring his version of the future into his own vocation.

Posted by Moshe Pavlov | Report as abusive

really? Palin “debates with the best of them?” Her entire national political career has been a canard – distract people from McCain’s lack of a true conservative pedigree? Check. Become the rhetorical hitman for big business interests who can’t find a legitmate politician to speak for them? Check.

Posted by matt | Report as abusive

For those like Beck who believe this low-watt publicity seeker is “pro-American”, please switch on your brain: She is out and about stirring up the lunatic fringe to maintain a semblance of a following. She is no more patriotic than a Fuller Brush salesman/woman, only the Fuller Brush people had a useful product. She has none.

Posted by Talleyrand | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin can say anything (and she has) but she generally ends up looking foolish and inexperienced. For those who say government can’t successfully run anything, look around. Stop passing on the same old verbal garbage, the government has accomplished terrific things.

Posted by c. Shannon | Report as abusive

Our health care is rationed by insurance companies whose fundamental purpose is to maximize profit and return on shareholder investment. And they are very good at it. A huge chunk of health care costs simply disappears into insurance company coffers. How do the “services” provided by insurance companies improve the health of a single person? Benefits is the antithesis of profit. Every dollar paid is one less dollar of profit.

The “public plan” rations health care by bureaucracy. While bureaucrats may seek power, and may waste vast amounts of money, at least a “public plan” is not fundamentally opposed to paying for benefits.

Would you rather pay $10000 in health-care taxes with $4000 wasted and $6000 returned to you as benefits, or $10000 paid to an insurance company with $7000 kept as profit and $3000 returned to you as benefits?

Posted by BJ | Report as abusive

Thank You again Katie Couric for saving my great country from this political monstrosity.

Ms. Palin was blown out the Washington Bus’s tailpipe last night by President Obama and it looks if the Republican doll quit just in time to fade into an insignificant oblivion.

With that reality at hand, Sarah will now surely go out of her way to stay in front of the press’s cameras and microphones.

Posted by Mac | Report as abusive