Death Panel? What Death Panel?

So now Sarah Palin, private citizen, weighs in on healthcare via (what else?) Facebook.

She calls President Obama’s healthcare reform “downright evil”, and opines it will create a “death panel” that would determine who gets access to care. Death panel indeed! Where do they get this stuff from?

In this case, Palin’s fears about her son Trig and her parents have to do with a provision in the House healthcare reform bill that would provide VOLUNTARY end of life counseling to terminally ill patients. Somehow, and no one seems to be sure exactly how, that’s been turned into euthanasia, and medicine circa 1930s Germany (I’m not making this up).

So I guess this is what Palin means by trying to “effect change” from outside her elected office. Nice try. Combine Palin’s utter nonsense (and the attention it’s getting) with the disruption of town hall meetings on healthcare reform, and you have a small but vocal segment of the American body politic trying to impose its will on the rest of us.


Their end game is to dilute reform to make it virtually unrecognizable from what we have now. Anything else, they bleat, like a public option or single payer puts us on the path to socialism. But what path does the current system put us on? Could it be something like Social Darwinism, where only the healthy survive?

Strip away all the rhetoric, and what leg do opponents of healthcare reform have to stand on? Put simply, they want no part of a system that affords the working poor access to quality care. If you make so little as to qualify under Medicaid, fine. If not, those geometric increases in the cost of health insurance premiums are on you, pal.

And who funds reform opponents? A guy named Rick Scott, the founder of “Conservatives for Patients Rights”. He also founded a hospital corporation that paid out $1.7 billion dollars to Uncle Sam for fraud. So let’s see now. We’ve got a group of vocal opponents of Obama’s healthcare plan who disrupt meetings at the behest of a failed governor and a medical fraudster. Nice.

I for one am still not ready to give up on single payer, universal care for all. I know people are saying it’s not politically feasible, people have said the same thing about other, equally worthy pieces of legislation. There’s something utterly galling about having the debate on this issue hijacked by the small, the petty, the misinformed, and the deliberately misleading.

As they say across the pond, death panel my arse. What do you think?


4 Comments Add yours

  1. sanda says:

    I suggest folks go to Not Dead Yet is an organization (which I
    support), that has been fighting assisted suicide for several years. The blog there
    is written by Stephen Drake. One of the founders is Diane Coleman, who has a comment on the newest blog entry which deals with this same subject as Mark Riley is dealing with, albeit via Sarah Palin. I am a person who is disabled by severe illness. Those of us watching the “end of life” discussion, and/or participating, see how there are implications for all people with disabilities, and seniors (old folks). In times of financial stress, there
    is escalation around the concept of “rationing” medical care, which overlaps with the related issues. Not Dead Yet looks at the various aspects. If I must comment on
    Sarah Palin: she will use whatever she can for political gain. She is not unique. Parents of children with Down Syndrome have had much to contend with in this society, which
    has movies calling some people “retards”… Again, read some of the short, good,
    articles on Thanks, Mark.

  2. Richard Kearney says:

    As a practical matter, I find it useful to view our currently existing “system” as having little or nothing to do with health care. In other words, it is not a “health care system” at all but rather a criminal enterprise for profiteering and fleecing the public without any meaningful form of democratic accountability. If, in the course of its vile operations some people happen to receive medical care that’s more of an incidental by-product than a major purpose of the system. On the “public” side, all the major providers of health care routinely and as a matter of policy overcharge the government for products and services because there is no effective cost control. On the “private” side, insurance companies maximize profitability by denying coverage to anyone they perceive as likely to be needing medical care on a regular basis while denying benefits to those who are allegedly “covered” through a confusing, Byzantine morass of deductions, exclusions, regulations, and other cons. This, of course, is the reason why most of the people who are driven into bankruptcy by health care costs are people who had insurance. The whole racket is corrupt to the core, and it generates more social pathologies on a daily basis (just consider, for example, the recently reported explosion in antidepressant use during the 1996-2005 period; or the even more repellent and out-of-control drugging of children). To call this gangsterism a “health care system” is an insult to every genuine health care system in the world. For its part, the Right – when it functions not merely as a paid shill in the service of these criminals – contributes nothing to this discussion, for there is no nightmarish spectre it can conjure up to frighten people THAT DOES NOT ALREADY EXIST in the current system, as just about everyone in the United States can quickly attest if you bother to ask them about their experience (or those of relatives, friends, neighbors, etc.) with our current “system.”

    It would be a great thing to have an actual health care system in the U.S. some day – that seems like a cause worth fighting for, no?

  3. Knollsgerbils says:

    There’s no death panel. Just Palin showing her ignorance and rabble rousing again.
    Pathetic . Lies can be dangerous. Some people actually listen to her and believe her.

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