Tag Archives: health care

Conversation? Nah, we don’t need that

Just posting this for my own memoirs, as it reflects the foulest side of politics (i.e. absolute intellectual dishonesty) and points to how, just when we need frank conversation and debate about policy, we instead get Palin scare tactics. Plus, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people don’t like death so they avoid all conversation and forethought that might relate to it. As my mom says, “Everybody dies! Deal with it.

Cue the Palin “death panel” meme, the twisted saga for which is relayed by the Rep. who, in fact, put something far from that misnomer into the bill:

Articles followed about how Republicans themselves had supported such provisions. Sites like PolitiFact and Factcheck.org as well as national organizations like the AARP pushed back on the lies.

It didn’t matter. The “death panel” episode shows how the news media, after aiding and abetting falsehood, were unable to perform their traditional role of reporting the facts. By lavishing uncritical attention on the most exaggerated claims and extreme behavior, they unleashed something that the truth could not dispel.

There was a troubling new dynamic: People like Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, were now parroting these falsehoods in their town meetings and letting it drive their policy decisions. (Mr. Grassley: “We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on Grandma.”) When the most extreme elements peddling false information can cow senior members of Congress into embracing their claims, it does not bode well for either policymaking or for the Republican Party.

It was all from that familiar playbook: We don’t like a bill or provision, so we make some shit up, and play on idiots’ worst fears. In the process, smear an idea that was actually founded in good intentions.

That idea, as described in the same Op/Ed:

I am much more interested in extending coverage to the uninsured and moving away from “fee for service” Medicare, which rewards volume over value.

In this context, I found it perverse that Medicare would pay for almost any medical procedure, yet not reimburse doctors for having a thoughtful conversation to prepare patients and families for the delicate, complex and emotionally demanding decisions surrounding the end of life. So when I was working on the health care bill, I included language directing Medicare to cover a voluntary discussion with a doctor once every five years about living wills, power of attorney and end-of-life treatment preferences.

… so you’re saying you want to KILL GRANDMA?!?!?!?!