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