Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When Will They Finally Catch On?

Image credit: Dunno source. found it here

Two Republican Senators have now stated that they think former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's idea that the health care reform bill will include "death panels" is crazy.

First, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) said this in an interview with Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:

Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother? What are we talking about here?

In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that's because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia "durable power of attorney," you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you're unable to make those decisions.

This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it's to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It's just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.

How did this become a question of euthanasia?

I have no idea. I understand -- and you have to check this out -- I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin's web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You're putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don't know how that got so mixed up.

Is the Government Going to Euthanize your Grandmother? An Interview With Sen. Johnny Isakson

The guy who helped get that provision in the bill is a Republican, and as he's stated, this has been something that has been done at the state level for years. He's just trying to establish a national standard. Whether that's a good or bad idea, it's clearly not about death panels.

Today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) added this:

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday told an Anchorage crowd that critics of health care reform, the summer's hottest political topic, aren't helping the debate by throwing out highly charged assertions not based in fact.

"It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels," Murkowski, a Republican, said. "Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."

Murkowski: Don't Tell Lies About The Health-care Reform Bill

(h/t Think Progress)

I wonder what the pea-brained idiots who were talking about that at Murkowski's town hall will be all a-twitter about next. Will it be government access to bank accounts? How about collecting enemies lists? You'd think that after a while, these people would catch on, but there's every reason to suspect they never will. The right has these people figured out. All you need to do is circulate an e-mail making some outlandish claim that conforms to their paranoid delusions, and blames it all on liberals or minorities. Then just wait for some right wing blowhard to start discussing it on the radio. After that, it will have a life of its own. They do this over and over, and their base hasn't caught on yet.

Or, you can just find a photogenic knucklehead to start it, and avoid the e-mailing step and right wing blowhards on radio steps.

It's great that some Republican officials have the nerve to speak out honestly about these rumors. Even so, we're in for a lot more of this, I'm afraid.

UPDATE: Do you want to see a real death panel? Maybe President Obama can save a little money by converting it to peacetime use.

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