Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palin Answers President Obama
on ObamaCare 'Death Panels'

From her Facebook page:
Yesterday President Obama responded to my statement that Democratic health care proposals would lead to rationed care; that the sick, the elderly, and the disabled would suffer the most under such rationing; and that under such a system these "unproductive" members of society could face the prospect of government bureaucrats determining whether they deserve health care.
The President made light of these concerns. He said:
"Let me just be specific about some things that I've been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don't, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore. . . .It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything." (Source: ABC News)
The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled "Advance Care Planning Consultation." With all due respect, it's misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.
Section 1233 authorizes advanced care planning consultations for senior citizens on Medicare every five years, and more often “if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual . . . or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility. . . or a hospice program." During those consultations, practitioners must explain "the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice," and the government benefits available to pay for such services.
Now put this in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is "to reduce the growth in health care spending." Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As Charles Lane notes in the Washington Post, Section 1233 "addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.... If it's all about alleviating suffering, emotional or physical, what's it doing in a measure to 'bend the curve' on health-care costs?" (Source: Washington Post)
As Lane also points out:
Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren't quite "purely voluntary," as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, "purely voluntary" means "not unless the patient requests one." Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that's an incentive to insist. Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they're n the meeting, the bill does permit "formulation" of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would "place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign," I don't think he's being realistic.
Even columnist Eugene Robinson, a self-described "true believer" who "will almost certainly support" "whatever reform package finally emerges," agrees that "If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending." (Source: Washington Post)
So are these usually friendly pundits wrong? Is this all just a "rumor" to be "disposed of," as President Obama says? Not according to Democratic New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, who writes:
Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives. . . . It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen . . . should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign. (Source: Ruben Diaz)
Of course, it"s not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." (Source: NCPA) Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which "produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated." (Source: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel)
President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisors are clear enough. It's all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform.
(Hat tips: Hot Air Headlines, Conservatives For Palin)

Good to see Gov. Palin talking policy. Looks like ObamaCare is on life-support. Time to "pull the plug"?


  1. Palin has tagged into the game and what she just served was delicious.

    Now it's time for the WH to return the serve. It's going to be hard to do since she just popped them between the eyes.

    What's the bet the MSM cries, "She didn't write this!?"

  2. Palin is a first rate blogger! Nice work!

  3. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wants your tonsils

  4. So, I see you've been reduced to reprinting missives from the Palin p.r. office.

    Tell us again what an awesome investigative journalist you are?

  5. Well, you know, she didn't actually write this. Palin may be marginally hot, but she's an intellectual retard.


  6. Palin did not write that. Palin's rating across all party lines is noe down to 39%. Also too wanna glimpse at how Palin governs and her IQ "I know your name is not Missy but Melissa is so HARD TO REMEMBER".

    A dramatic reading of minutes from a Wasilla town meeting, with Mayor Sarah Palin presiding.

    BTW TexMex in true McCain style I am circulating your pic with friend around internet throughout student chat sites in Texas/abroad alerting professors along with potential clients/employees to recognize your face exposing your degenerated character.

    Ya know keeping the courts save from someone like you is the least I can do for mankind. I am actually preparing a complaint to bar association about your lack of decency here, your tabloid foddering against the expected duties and morality of a licensed attorney.

    Good luck with the review panel...almost like your own personal career DEATH PANEL...oh the irony!

  7. Sarah Palin has the best political instincts of any modern political figure. I won't call her a politician, because she's better than that.

  8. "...may be attenuated." How very Goebbelsesque.

  9. Amazing piece if writing from a "stupid snow-hick" who can't figure out what magazines she is reading.

    Obama loses another round to Palin.
    Why couldn't McCain put him on the ropes like this?

  10. Not only is her response great, but as an added bonus, David Frum's head just exploded. Parker, Hillyer, Brooks, Douthat, et al, cannot be too far behind.

  11. Tex, I thought the same thing. It's so rational, so factual, she certainly couldn't have written it?! And the more they yammer that, the more people will go and read the piece, join her Facebook friends, rally against the health care bills, etc.

    The only way to kill the Palin phenomenon would be for Olbermann, Maddow, Matthews and the rest of the Whole Sick Crewe to ignore, ignore, ignore and they couldn't do that to save their lives.

    What would Mr. Spock say? Oh yes, "fascinating, Captain."

  12. I note that all the negative and/or threatening comments are anonymous, or rather unlinked to anything or anyone. Step up to the plate, my dear "Isabella" and take responsibility.

    Wait a're not Glenn Greenwald, are you?