He warned that the U.S. government must not be in a position to “pull the plug on grandma.”But Senator Charles Grassley, a leading Republican who could be key to President Barack Obama’s hopes of overhauling healthcare, acknowledged on Sunday that so-called “death panels” weren’t really a possibility anyway.Grassley, the leading Republican in the Senate Finance Committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that his well-publicized comment about pulling the plug was only meant to convey the fears of voters.“It won’t do that. But I wanted to explain why my constituents are concerned about it,” Grassley said.He was quoted saying earlier this month that “You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma.”He struggled a bit when asked to explain why he made the comments in the first place: “I said that because — two reasons. Number one, I was responding to a question at my town meetings. I let my constituents set the agenda. A person that asked me that question was reading from language that they got off of the Internet. It scared my constituents…”Obama expressed outrage on Saturday about persistent rumors about the government-run “death panels” — an issue most notably raised by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was the Republican vice presidential nominee last year.“As every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called ‘death panels’ — an offensive notion to me and to the American people,” Obama said. “These are phony claims meant to divide us.”The issue stems 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.Obama’s healthcare plan has been hit from both sides, with liberal members of his own party pushing for major changes while Republicans and conservative Democrats fret about cost and government involvement. The debate likely will intensify next month when Congress returns from its summer recess.Do you think Grassley’s acknowledgement will help end the debate over death panels?
Tales from the Trail
America's "Religious Left" is jumping into the healthcare debate with a plan to launch a "40 Days for Health Reform" initiative starting Monday.
The move comes as conservative resistance hardens to President Barack Obama's attempts to overhaul America's healthcare system. This has taken the form of angry scenes at townhall meetings and has been driven in part by the "Religious Right," which claims on Christian radio stations and on the blogosphere that, among other things, "Obamacare" will result in taxpayer-funded abortion. That's a point disputed by most Democrats and their allies.
The pro-faith-based healthcare reform campaign is organized by liberal leaning religious groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life. Borrowing a page from the Religious Right, the conservative Christian movement that rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s as a key base for the Republican Party, the campaign will feature prayer rallies and a national TV ad.